UK announces new immigration rules

UK announces new immigration rules

Last year, the government of the United Kingdom said that there would be a few tweaks to its immigration policies. Some of these were implemented at the outset of the year, including the immigration health surcharge and the minimum income requirement for sponsoring non-EEA spouses.  The new changes focus on the Tier 2 visa, the main immigration route for skilled workers.

 On April 6, 2017, as detailed in the Statement of Changes published by the Home Office last March, the UK government officially implemented the new rules for the Tier 2 (General) visa and the Tier 2 Intra-Transfer (ICT) visa.  

Tier 2 (General) visa changes


This type of visa is the primary and the most popular UK immigration route for skilled workers coming to the UK. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must have a valid job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK-owned/based employer.

  • The new Immigration skills charge must be paid in full. Otherwise, the application will be rejected. The fee is set at £1,000 per employee per year and a discounted rate of £364 for small or charitable organizations, which be multiplied by the number of years the visa is valid (typically three years).

  • The minimum salary requirement for experienced workers (one year experience in a particular job post in the last three years) in this visa category has been increased to £30,000 from £25,000. For new entrants, however, the minimum salary requirement is retained at £20,800.

  • Employers sponsoring high earners are now exempt from conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). On the other hand, the high earners now have a minimum salary requirement of £159,600 from the previous ruling’s £155,300

  • Conducting an RLMT and assigning a Certificate for Sponsorship is no longer required for high-value job posts or those that are considered significant for new inwards investment projects.  

Tier 2 (ICT) visa changes


This type of visa is for multinational firms wishing to transfer workers from their overseas branch to their UK operations. Like the General visa, applicants must have a valid job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK-owned/based employer. This visa could be for long-term (9-year validity), short-term (1-year validity), graduate trainee (1-year validity), and skills transfer (6-month validity).

  • Currently, the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) Short Term visa is unavailable to all new applications until further notice.

  • The £200 Immigration Health Surcharge will also apply to applicants applying for this visa type, including their dependants.

  • Allowances can now only from at least 30 percent of the applicant’s total salary package.

  • All applicants who have a salary over the £73,900 mark do not need to have a year of employment experience in the sponsor’s overseas branch. They can now submit an application by simply being employed by the branch given that the applicant’s job description is similar to what the sponsor needs in his/her UK operations.

  • For ICT visa extensions, applicants no longer have to earn £155,300. The new minimum salary threshold requirement for them is £120,000.

Surely, there will be more changes in the coming days and months, especially after Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered Brexit last month. We will keep you posted on any further development in this matter. 


For more updates on UK immigration, follow us here. For questions on the Tier 2 Visa, ask our OISC Registered UK Migration Consultant.

About Migration Expert:
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