United Kingdom: New Season Brings Fresh Changes to Immigration Rules
Making changes in the U.K. immigration rules is becoming an annual spring event. Having taken into account the findings from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), this year the U.K. government will introduce certain changes to the Code of Practice relating to foreign nationals coming to work in the U.K. under the employer-sponsored immigration categories effective from 6 April 2013.1 We outline those changes below.
• A resident labor market test has to be carried out for those who do not qualify under the intra-company transferee categories. There are relaxed provisions for certain Ph.D. roles and roles where the salary is over GBP 75,000. The relaxed provisions will be extended to apply to those entering the U.K. to undertake certain scientific positions such as biological scientist, and natural and social science professionals.
• Further changes to the resident labor market test include that the job must be advertised in at least two different media, including JobCentre Plus (where it is mandatory). Where the advertising requirements are relaxed for those persons who are highly paid (over GBP 71,000 per annum) or undertaking Ph.D.-level jobs such that the requirement to advertise on JobCentre Plus is not mandatory, the advertising must still be in two different places. Please note that it would still be necessary to advertise for 28 calendar days in the prescribed medium for the job code.
• A new lower-pay threshold for “new entrant” employees will be introduced, along with a definition of “new entrant.”
• There will be changes to the minimum salary thresholds such that:
• Tier 2 General: the new hire category will have the minimum threshold raised from GBP 20,000 per annum to GBP 23,000 per annum;
• Tier 2 Intra-Company Short Term: the category for those coming for less than 12 months will have the minimum threshold raised from GBP 24,000 per annum to GBP 24,300 per annum;
• Tier 2 Intra-Company Long Term: the category for those coming for more than 12 months will have the minimum threshold raised from GBP 40,000 per annum to GBP 40,600 per annum;
• Tier 2 Intra-Company Long Term: the category for those wanting to stay up to nine years will have the minimum threshold raised from GBP 150,000 per annum to GBP 152,100 per annum.
These changes to the country’s immigration rules are likely to add complexity to the existing measures which apply to foreign workers coming into the United Kingdom and could make it administratively more burdensome and potentially more expensive to hire foreign nationals in light of the raised minimum salary thresholds.
Employers seeking to move employees or household workers into the United Kingdom should consult with their professional advisers or seek legal counsel.2
1 For more information on the new changes, see: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ .
2 KPMG LLP in the U.K. is registered and authorized to provide immigration services by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).