rules

After weeks of waiting for the expected Autumn Immigration Rule changes, many will have been left wondering whether the proposed changes were ever going to take place. However, yesterday, the Home Office  announced that the long-awaited changes would come into power on the 24th November 2016.

Some key changes to note include:

  • Increases to the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold to £25,000 for experienced staff. Some exemptions apply.
  • Increases to the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold to £30,000 for short-term staff.
  • Removing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category.
  • The Graduate Trainee sub-category will face changes too. There will be a reduction to the salary threshold from £24,800 to £23,000. The number of places a sponsor can use will be increased from 5 to 20 per annum.

The Home Office are yet to confirm a date for the introduction of an Immigration Health Surcharge for the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) category.

A surprising announcement came in the form of changes for out of time applications. Historically, applications submitted within 28 days of leave expiring, have been accepted by the Home Office. Once the new rules are implemented, out of time applications will fall for refusal unless submitted within 14 days and the reason for overstaying is both strong and out of the applicant’s control.

Illegal working closure notices

As of the 1 December 2016, employers must note that further provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 are due to take place. Should the proposed changes take effect in December, employers must beware that Immigration Officers will have the power to close business premises for a maximum of 48 hours for employers who have committed offences related to immigration. The Home Office will also be able to apply to the court for a compliance order to enforce special measures on the employer to avert illegal working.

The above changes highlight the government’s ever-increasing hardline approach towards immigration and there is no doubt that future amendments will take a similar line.