The Home Office has today published their proposals for reform the scheme for settlement (along with some other changes to the Immigration Rules).
These changes due to come into effect in April (with different parts coming into effect at different times) but will be laid before Parliament on 15 March we’ll have more on this shortly although you can read our consultation response here. The key proposals are:
- From 6 April 2016, those applying for settlement from Tier 2 and who entered Tier 2 under the rules in force from 6 April 2011 must be paid at least £35,000 per annum or the going rate in the relevant UK Border Agency Code of Practice, whichever is higher.
- There will be exceptions to this for occupations on the Shortage Occupation List, those in designated “PhD-level” jobs and Ministers of Religion. As now, those in the former two categories will have to be paid the appropriate rate for the occupation.
- The £35,000 threshold will be held at that level until April 2018. The expected 2018 threshold will be announced during 2013.
- Tier 2 General, Ministers of Religion and Sportsperson migrants will be able to stay in the UK for up to six years in Tier 2 (initial leave of three years, and an extension of up to three years). They will be able to apply for settlement, if they meet the criteria, after five years (as now) and at any point up to the expiry of their leave. Rules limiting leave to 6 years will apply to those who entered after 6 April 2011- those who entered before are not affected by this.
There are also worrying proposed changes for domestic workers. It is proposed:
- Overseas Domestic Workers in private households will only be allowed to accompany visitors to the UK. They will be allowed to work for the visitor on an ODW visa as now, but must leave the UK with the visitor after a maximum of six months, and may not extend their stay, switch employer, sponsor dependants or settle in the UK from this route. There will be heightened pre-entry checks.
- Overseas Domestic Workers in diplomatic households will be allowed to stay for the duration of the stay of the diplomat for whom they are working, up to a maximum of five years whichever comes first. They may not switch employer or settle in the UK from this route, but may sponsor dependants.
- Those who do not apply for or obtain settlement must leave the UK on expiry of their leave (leave will be granted for a maximum of 6 years) and wait 12 months before applying to return in Tier 2.
- There will be no changes to the settlement arrangements for Tier 1 migrants.
The above is just an initial summary for the full detail please click here