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[Immigration] New Immigration Rules coming into effect from 1st December 2020

23 October 2020

Thomas Miles

On 22nd October the Home Office announced further details of the new Immigration System, including confirmation that many aspects of it will come into effect from 1st December 2020 - not January 2021 as some had been expecting.

Key changes:

Skilled Worker (new Tier 2 (General)

- No Tier 2 (General) applications can be made from 1st December onwards - including extensions. Instead, all applicants must apply under the new Skilled Worker route, meaning that existing Tier 2 (General) migrants who need to extend their visa will be switching to the Skilled Worker visa when they apply.

- Any Certificate of Sponsorship assigned to a Tier 2 (General) migrant for an application made on or after 1st December will need to have a Sponsor Note added in relation to the application being made under the Skilled Worker route. The Home Office are due to release further details on this requirement.

- Skilled Worker visas can be sponsored for roles at RQF Level 3 and above, which therefore allows a wider range of jobs to be filled by migrants than under the current Tier 2 system (which requires the role to be at RQF Level 6 or above).

- The ordinary salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas will be £25,600 per year (or higher, if required by the job code, i.e. “SOC code”), but there will be scope for the salary to be as low as £20,480 if certain other requirements are met.

- There will be no Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship required and no Resident Labour Market Test required for Skilled Worker visas.

- Skilled Worker visas will not be subject to any maximum length of stay (i.e. the current 6 year limit for Tier 2 (General) will not apply) and the 12 month “cooling off” period is removed for Skilled Worker visas.

- Salary requirement for Settlement applications is reduced to £25,600 per year (or higher according to the SOC code) - which is lower than the current minimum for Tier 2 (General) of £35,800.

Intra Company Transfer (new Tier 2(ICT))

- The High Earner threshold (currently £120,000 per year) is being reduced to £73,900 per year - migrants earning at this level or above will not be subject to a minimum length of service with the company, and will be able to remain in the UK for up to 9 years in any 10-year period.

- The “cooling off” period is changed, such that ICT migrants will be able to remain in the UK for up to 5 years in any 6-year rolling period (or up to 9 years in any 10-year period for High Earners, as above).

Note that the above is only a summary of what we consider to be the most relevant changes. There are various other technical changes to the Immigration Rules, and 3CS will of course be providing the most up-to-date advice when assisting clients with their visa applications. For further information, please contact one of our team. 

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Solicitor/Head of Legal​​

Thomas Miles

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