On the 4 March 2021 the Home Office published a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. These changes come in force on 6 April 2021 and relate mostly to the work and study routes within the points-based system, although there are updates to other parts of the Rules as well.
Appendix Graduate has been added to the Rules outlining the eligibility requirements for international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies or three years for Doctoral students. The Graduate Route will open for application on 1 July 2021.
The Academic Technology Approval scheme (ATAS) has been expanded to include those coming to the UK under a sponsored work route to fill a role in an occupation that includes academic research in certain sensitive subjects (e.g. programmes to develop advanced conventional weapon technology, weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery).
Changes to the Skilled Worker route
There has been an important update to the minimum salary threshold for the Skilled Worker Route. Minimum pay can now be no less than £10.10 per hour for a 39-hour week.
Therefore, the salary must equal or exceed all of the following:
- £25,600/year or the lower thresholds for new entrants, shortage jobs and those with a PhD, and
- £10.10 per hour, and
- the going rate for the occupation code.
“The purpose of this is to safeguard against sponsors requiring their employees to work long hours, to compensate for lower pay rates in meeting the salary floor”.
This change will not apply to those already on a Skilled Worker visa working in jobs paying less than £10.10/hour.
Migrants working in occupation codes 2113 Physical scientist, 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified, and 2311 Higher education teaching professionals will be exempt from higher going rates introduced on 1 Dec 2020. They can apply to extend or settle in the UK based on the previous going rates until 1 Dec 2026.
The new entrants’ criteria have been expanded to include those previously holding permission as a Graduate within the last 2 years.
Time spent on the Graduate Route will count towards the time an applicant can be classed as a new entrant, set at maximum 4 years.
Applicant’s most recent permission needs to be as a Student or Graduate. Therefore, it cannot include permission as visitor.
Changes to Part 9 of Immigration Rules now prevent sponsors from reducing Skilled Worker’s salary below the level of tradeable points. A new visa application will be required where the sponsor reduces the salary on the basis that the Skilled Worker can offset the reduced salary by relying on a different set of tradeable points.
Changes to the Intra-company Transfer route
A transitional provision is being reinstated to exempt Intra-Company workers who have been in Intra-Company routes since before 6 April 2011 from the maximum time limits that apply in the Intra-Company routes. Eligible workers can extend their permission for up to five years with each application.
Update to the Shortage Occupation list
Following some of the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee published in September 2020, the Shortage Occupation List will be expanded to include these roles:
- 1181 Health services and public health managers and directors – all jobs.
- 1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors – all jobs
- 3111 Laboratory technicians – all jobs
- 6146 Senior care workers – all jobs
- 2213 Pharmacists – all jobs
- 2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobs
- 2221 Physiotherapists – all jobs
- 6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistants – all jobs
An amendment has also been made to the requirements for ‘welding’ as a shortage occupation. Only high integrity pipe welders qualify, where the job requires 3 or more years of experience, and the experience has not been gained through working illegally.
Skilled chefs have been removed from the Shortage Occupation List but continue to qualify for sponsorship.
Changes to Global Talent : prestigious prizes
Currently, the application process requires talented individuals to obtain endorsement from an endorsing body, prior to submitting a visa application for permission to enter or remain in the UK.
However, from 5 May 2021 those who have won one of the “prestigious prizes” included in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes will be able to bypass the endorsement requirement. The list of prestigious prizes will include Nobel Prizes, Golden Globes, Tony Awards and the Hugo Boss Prize.
Those relying on having won a prestigious prize will have 3 years qualifying period for settlement and identical conditions applied to their permission as for those with an exceptional talent endorsement.
Also, at the request of the Royal Society, the British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering, the criteria for individuals who have been offered a qualifying position at an eligible institution or institute will be fast-tracked.
Changes to other work routes
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting
Under the current system, any migrant working in the UK within the creative sector, must have no more than 14 days between paid engagements. The new Rules allow migrants and their sponsors to ‘stop the clock’ by only counting time spent within the UK. This arrangement will better reflect the working-practices of the creative sector.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme
The requirement for a Certificate of Sponsorship has been replaced with a requirement for persons applying from countries or territories without Deemed Sponsorship Status to produce evidence of sponsorship. Also, the time in which these applicants must obtain evidence of sponsorship before applying has been extended from three to six months.
A requirement has been added that applicants must be the sole founder or an instrumental member of the founding team of the business for which they have been endorsed by an endorsing body.
Contact Migrate UK for further guidance on how these changes may affect your immigration application: 01235 841 568 or firstname.lastname@example.org