Summary of changes effective 6th April 2011

03 Mar 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Allocation of Certificate of Sponsorship

From 6 April 2011 20,700 restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) will be made available to skilled workers applying through the Tier 2 of the points based system.

The annual limit of 20,700 CoS will be divided into 12 monthly allocations.

Due to the likely demand in the first month, 4,200 CoS will be made available in April. After that, the limit will be set at 1,500 places per month. Any places that are unused each month will be rolled over to the following month.

Workers from outside the EU who want to come to Britain will need to have a graduate-level job, speak an intermediate level of English and meet specific salary and employment requirements.

The limit will apply to Tier 2 General jobs that have a salary of less than £150,000 per annum and which are to be filled by a migrant who is entering the United Kingdom from overseas.

This limit will not apply to:

  • Intra Company Transfers
  • Tier 2 Sports People
  • Tier 2 Ministers of Religion
  • Any Tier 2 (General) CoS with a salary of £150,000 or more.
  • Any in-country Tier 2 (General) application including extensions, changes of employment and those switching immigration category into Tier 2 (General).

Restricted and Unrestricted CoS

The UKBA propose to implement the annual limit in Tier 2 (General) by restricting the CoS available for jobs to be filled by migrants entering the United Kingdom from overseas which attract a salary of less than £150,000. These are called 'restricted' jobs, for which a 'restricted' CoS is required.

Within Tier 2 (General), CoS required for the following circumstances will be exempt from the limit - these are called 'unrestricted' jobs:

  • Extensions - where you need to extend leave for a migrant who is already in the UK and working for you and who has existing leave under Tier 2 (General) or as a Work Permit holder that was granted on or before 5 April 2011;
  • Changes of Employment - where a migrant is already in the UK with valid leave under Tier 2 (General) or as a Work Permit holder which was granted on or before 5 April 2011 and who wants to change employer.
  • Switching Immigration Category - where a CoS is required for a migrant who is already in the UK in another immigration category of stay and who wants to switch in-country into Tier 2 (General) where this is allowable under the Immigration Rules;
  • New hires earning over £150,000 - where the migrant will be entering the UK from overseas and the annual salary for the job is £150,000 or more.

All Tier 2 (ICT) jobs are also unrestricted. See section below regarding changes to the Intra Company Trasnfer route for more information.

Please note that a CoS is still required for an unrestricted job but these CoS are exempt from the limit.

Intra Company Transfer route

The Intra Company Transfer route, which is not part of the annual limit, will also be changed in three ways:

  • The job will have to be in an occupation on the graduate occupation list
  • Only those paid £40,000 or more will be able to stay for more than a year. They will be granted for three years with the possibility of extending for a further two
  • Those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be allowed to come to the UK for no longer than 12 months, at which point they must leave and will not be able to re-apply for 12 months

Your Annual Allocation of CoS for Tier 2 (General) and ICT

The proposed introduction of the limit will affect the way in which you request your annual allocation of CoS under Tier 2 (General) and ICT.

Your allocation period, or 'CoS year', will now be changed and will run for a fixed period from 6 April to 5 April the following year. This change will be applied from 6 April 2011 to coincide with the start of the limit period.

This means that on 6 April 2011 your CoS allocation for Tier 2 (General) and/or ICT will be set to zero. For full details of what you need to do to apply for your CoS allocation, please contact us today.

Changes to the settlement rule from April 2011 (applicable to Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants)

Income requirement
Tier 1 General migrants will need to score points against the same criteria as their last application in order to be eligible to apply for settlement.

Tier 2 (General) and Work Permit migrants will need to be paid the appropriate salary for the occupation as set out in the codes of practice.

English Language requirement
Applicants will no longer be able to rely on taking an ESOL with citizenship course as evidence that they have fulfilled the life in the UK test requirement. 

From 6 April 2011 all applicants will need to pass the life in the UK test in order to meet this requirement. Dependants will be unaffected by this change.

Criminality test
A new criminality threshold for settlement applications will be introduced. All migrants will need to be free of unspent convictions when applying for settlement; this is currently the case when applying for nationality.