From 6 April 2016, individuals on a Tier 2 visa applying for settlement in the UK and who entered the country under the rules in force from 6 April 2011 must be paid at least £35,000 per annum. This salary threshold has caused quite a stir amongst UK employers who fear that they will lose existing employees as they are currently on salaries that are relatively lower. Furthermore, as a result of the threshold potential employees may be put off at the aspect of not being able to settle in the UK due to the salary expectation.
New Immigration Rules on Tier 2 Settlement
The new rules on Tier 2 settlement will apply to anyone who entered or switched into Tier 2 of the Points-Based System under the rules in force from 6 April 2011 and who will therefore be eligible to make a settlement application in this category from April 2016 (after five years). The settlement pay threshold of £35,000 will not apply to individuals who entered on a Tier 2 visa under the rules in force on 5 April 2011.
It is the responsibility of the UK employer to put in writing in support of their employees settlement application that they are being paid either £35,000 per annum or the appropriate rate for your job as listed in the Codes of Practice. The pay threshold will be held at £35,000 until early April 2018; then the salary threshold will increase over the next 3 years after that:
- £35,500 if applying on or after 6 April 2018;
- £35,800 if applying on or after 6 April 2019; and
- £36,200 if applying on or after 6 April 2020.
UK Employers Fear the Effect of Salary Threshold
Understandably a number of employers and in particular unions have spoken out against the salary threshold. As we reported earlier this year both the Royal College of Nursing and National Association Head Teachers have voiced that the new settlement requirement could have a detrimental effect on their sectors which, in turn, will have a negative impact on the UK economy.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the salary threshold of £35,000 being implemented next year only refers to basic pay; applicants cannot rely on bonuses or overtime. The national average in NI is currently £26,000 which means that a non-EU employee can only apply for settlement in the UK if they get a pay rise; which in today’s climate is becoming increasingly difficult for employees and employers.
Immigration Advice for UK Employers & Tier 2 Applicants
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 2 General migrant visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.
We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had a Tier 2 General visa refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.