Last month, the UK government issued a set of new changes to the Tier 2 visa among other changes to immigration rules. Those changes, which went into effect on January 11, could impact businesses with offices in the UK. Here’s a brief summary of some of the most important changes in UK immigration you should be aware of right now:
What is the Tier 2 visa?
Tier 2 in the UK is the main avenue for skilled workers to enter and work in the country. Part of qualifying for this tier, other than salary and other educational and experience standards, requires sponsorship by an employer that is registered with the UK immigration authorities. For companies with UK offices looking to hire skilled workers who are not UK or EU citizens, this might be one visa option.
Tier 2 restrictions related to settlement in the UK relaxed
Recent restrictions have been relaxed on the need to be continuously employed through the qualifying period of five years in order to be eligible for “settled status” in the UK. This change essentially gives Tier 2 migrants more time to change employers and still qualify for settled status.
Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) annual allocation deadline in April
Current allocations of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship will expire on April 6 of this year, and requests for allocations for the coming year should be submitted by that date. In order to minimize disruption, sponsors should begin the process of renewing their CoS by determining how many foreign nationals they anticipate hiring in or transferring to the UK between April of 2018 until April of 2019. Sponsors should also consider which employees will require an extension of their UK immigration status in the coming year, and if relevant, include them in the allocation request.
Because there is a chance that their CoS allocation could be reset to zero, rather than the current number of allocations being automatically renewed, it’s important that organizations make a strong case for the number of CoS they will need in their renewal. More details on which companies should submit a CoS renewal can be found in this recent Smith Stone Walters blog post.
If you are concerned about your allocation requests or would like to learn more about sponsorship in the UK, please contact our Global team.