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Employing non-UK nationals? Be aware of changes to immigration rules

All companies that are employing staff through the Tier 2 sponsorship system should be aware of changes to the rules, some of which have become effective as of 24 November 2016 and others from April 2017.

Employers should familiarise themselves with the changes to ensure compliance and security of tenure for their international staff. TalentScotland, Scottish Enterprise’s international talent attraction service, is organising free on demand workshops to help companies understand the new rules and the Tier 2 sponsorship process in general. Further details are available here:

The UK Government has also announced a consultation on further changes to immigration rules which is expected to open before Christmas. We will keep you updated on any developments around this.

Changes effective from 24 November 2016:

  •          Salary threshold for experienced workers with Tier 2 (General) visa has been increased to £25,000, with some exemptions
  •          Salary threshold for workers on a  Tier 2 (Intra-Company-Transfer) has been increased to £30,000
  •          Salary threshold for graduate trainees on Tier 2 (Intra-Company-Transfer) has been reduced to £23,000 and the number graduate trainee places has been increased from 5 to 20 per year
  •          The Tier 2 (Intra-Company-Transfer) skills transfer sub-category has been closed.

These changes will apply to all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after 24 November 2016.

Changes to become effective from April 2017:

  •          Introduction of a new Immigration Skills Charge:

Employers will need to pay £1000 per year of visa for each Tier 2 (General) visa they are sponsoring. This charge is payable upfront for the whole visa period (e.g. £3000 for a visa that is valid for 3 years). There will be a reduced rate of £364 for small companies but it is not yet clear how “small” will be defined. The UK Government has published a factsheet on the Immigration Skills Charge:

  •          Salary threshold for experienced workers with Tier 2 (General) visa will rise to £30,000

Please get in touch with our Research and Policy Manager Svea Miesch at if you have any questions or comments on this. 

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