5 Things to Expect From UK Visas & Immigration in 2017

5 Things to Expect From UK Visas & Immigration in 2017

New Year, New Changes for UK Visas & Immigration  
There is no doubt that 2017 is a big year for UK immigration, especially after the Brexit result last year. The country is about to trigger Article 50, this upcoming March 2017 and this alone will bring many changes to the country’s visas & immigration sector. So, here's a look at some of the upcoming changes:

1. Introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge
The government of the United Kingdom is planning to introduce a new incentive program that will significantly reduce local employers’ reliance on international talent. Many pro-immigration organizations are criticizing the plan, but the government seems resolute in pushing the scheme that would prioritize local workers over foreign talents. If the plan pushes through, locally based companies will be required to pay £1,000 per valid Tier 2 migrant visa this year.

Proposed implementation: 01 April 2017
2. The Immigration Health Surcharge for Tier 2 (ICT) 
Starting April 3, 2017, Intra-company Transfer (ICT) applicants and their dependents are required to pay the NHS the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Applicants as well as their dependant[s] as applicable, will be charged £200 per valid visa year at the time of application. The IHS will issue a refund in the event of application rejection.

Implementation: 03 April 2017

3. Minimum salary threshold adjustment 
The required minimum wage to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and permanent residence for non-EEA-members will be stretched to £35,000 or more. This will apply only to applicants under the Tier 2 - General visa category; the Tier 2 - Minister of Religion; and Tier 2 - Sportsperson visa categories.  

Implementation: 06 April 2017

4. Closure of Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term visa route 
The UK government will finally put an end to the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term visa route in which employers are allowed to acquire a talent from abroad for a short period of time (max. 12 months). Employers who want to avail of the highly skilled foreign talents can only do it via stricter routes such as Tier 2 General and Tier 2 ICT Long Term. Also, the minimum salary threshold for TIER 2 visas will be increased to £41,500 from last autumn’s £30,000 adjustment.
On the other hand, the minimum wage threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) higher earners who have worked in the UK from five up to nine years will be reduced to £120,000 from the current fee of £155,300.  Applicants hitting and surpassing the £73,900 salary grade will no longer be required to have at least one-year prior experience abroad.

Implementation date: 01 April 2017

5. New English Language Requirement for Non-EEA Partners and Parents 
All visa applicants from non-EEA partners and parents will be required to reach the Level A2 for the language of the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFRL).  The change was proposed as early as November of last year to give applicants more time to polish and improve their English language proficiency.   The new language requirement will apply to all the applicants applying for stay extension after being in the country for two years and six months on the 5-year route to settlement. All partners and parents whose current leave under the UK Family Migration rules will be expiring on or before 1 May 2017 are required to adhere to the new ruling.

Implementation date: 01 May 2017
Awaiting Brexit
“The volume of migrant workers settling in Britain has reached record levels in recent years. The new rules will see us exercising control, ensuring that only the best and the brightest remain in Britain permanently,” Prime Minister Theresa May once said.
She is convinced that the UK has no other choice but to respect the referendum and create a smooth transition to being economically independent of the rest of the European Union. With this, she wants to strengthen the country’s economy by imposing a “British First” policy, which, sadly, is causing anxiety among the immigrants in the country and those who are planning to move to the UK in the months to come.  
Speak to one of our OISC-registered UK migration consultants to find out how the latest in UK Visas & Immigration will impact you and how these changes might affect your visa application. Want more relevant and timely updates regarding UK Visas & Immigration? Subscribe to our newsletter! 

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Interested in living, working, studying or traveling to Australia, Canada, the UK or the US? Contact Migration Expert, a widely recognized immigration consulting company. Visit our website at www.migrationexpert.co.uk or phone for a consultation with a Registered UK Migration Consultant at more updates on UK Immigration by following us here. For more visa-related questions, speak to one of our OISC-registered UK migration consultants. 

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