New Immigration Rules on Work Related Categories

Posted on May 2012 - by Tandoori Magazine
New Immigration Rules on Work Related Categories

Changes in immigration rules have come into force that affect work related categories. Maria Fernandes looks at how these will affect the hospitality sector

New immigration rules that came into force on 6 April introduced changes which have been expected for some time. Some of the more general changes will affect all employers and employees regardless of whether or not they have a sponsor licence. So what are things we need to look out for?

Tier 2

Settlement

By far the biggest change is in this area. Settlement will no longer be automatic for employees after 6 April 2016. This change will affect not only new applicants but some existing employees who do not complete 5 years by April 2016.  All those who qualify for settlement by this date will not be affected by the changes.

Thereafter, applicants will need to show that they are being paid a gross salary of £35,000 (i.e. excluding overtime) per annum or the appropriate rate for their job as set out in the Codes of Practice, whichever is the higher.

However, the good news is that migrants who are or were on the shortage occupation list at any point during the time the applicant was sponsored will be exempt from the requirement of the £35,000 salary mentioned above. Those on the shortage occupation list include all chefs. However, they will continue to be required to be paid at the rate for their job as set out in the Code of Practice.

Maximum period

A maximum period of six years will be introduced to Tier 2 (General) employees. They will need to either qualify for settlement during this period or leave the UK. If they do leave they will not be able to return again for at least 12 months. It does not alter the rule currently in place, which enables an applicant to qualify after five years.

Extensions 

The extension periods will be standardised to three years and 14 days or the period of sponsorship, whichever is shorter. So for example if an employee was granted two years initially he will be granted three years 14 days unless his employer wants him for two years, which is the shorter period of the two. 

Maintenance

As of 14 June 2012, there will be an increase in funds required to maintain applicants, from £800 to £900, and an increase for dependants from £533 to £600. There is currently a list of banks that the UKBA do not accept as they are unable to verify cheques. At present this list is only used for students but will be applied to all points-based applicants' cases including Tier 2. The list will be available on the UKBA website.

The closing balance on any bank statements/other financial documents evidencing maintenance must have an end date no earlier than 31 days before the date of the application. 

Post study workers

Those who are currently on post study work visas no longer need to be employed with an employer for six months prior to making an application to switch to Tier 2, but they will no longer be exempt from meeting the maintenance requirement and they will need to show that they have adequate funds of £900 for a 90-day period. They will be exempt from meeting the labour market test.

Post study workers can also switch to the Entrepreneur category if they invest £50,000 and can create two jobs.  

Students: rules on switching 

Students who complete a UK degree (not a qualification equivalent to a degree), Postgraduate Certificate in Education or a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education, or have completed 12 months' study in the UK will be able to switch to Tier 2 without the need for conducting a labour market test. The course must have been studied at a UK-recognised or listed body or one which holds a sponsor licence under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.

No students other than the above will be able to switch from within the UK and will have to return to their home country to apply for entry clearance.

Curtailment of leave

The new policy is to make curtailment of leave more robust and mandatory (as opposed to the current system of applying a case-by-case approach). As of now, the applicant will be given 60 days to change employer, following which enforcement action will be taken.

Refusal for false representations

 The rules on false representations are being strengthened to include all past demeanours.

 There will be a further ground of refusal if false representations are made in order to obtain supporting documents. For example, false representations to obtain a genuine qualification. Those, for example, who submitted documents to genuine colleges from previous colleges or qualifications that were bogus will be caught by this provision. 

English Language

On English Language, the rules are being tightened so that applicants who previously made false representations or submitted false documents will be refused.

 

This article was accurate as of 26 March 2012

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