Employers who sponsor foreign national workers in the UK should be aware of two key changes to the Immigration Rules that will come into effect on 14 June 2012:
- An increase in the funds needed to fulfil the maintenance requirement for applications to enter or remain in the UK.
- An increase in the skill level required for a job to be eligible for sponsorship
Changes to the Maintenance Requirement.
Migrants should start saving now to meet new maintenance requirements coming into effect this summer. Most categories of migrants under the Points Based System are required to show that they hold a certain amount of money in their bank accounts as part of the application process. The requisite level of funds must be held in a migrant’s account for three months before the date of application.
Maintenance requirements are going up on 14 June 2012, so migrants who plan to submit applications after that date should ensure that they have the new, higher level of funds in their accounts from now. Maintenance requirements for Tier 2 applications will go up from £800 to £900 for the main applicant, and from £533 to £600 for each dependant.
A-rated sponsors can continue to undertake maintenance for sponsored employees and their dependants. Sponsors must now certify maintenance for dependants up until the end of the first month of the dependants’ leave, rather than of the main applicant’s employment in the UK.
Changes to the Required Skill Level
Several roles currently appropriate for sponsorship will no longer be of a sufficiently high skill level from summer 2012. The minimum skill level for Tier 2 migrants will be raised from National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 4 to NQF level 6 on 14 June 2012. 27 occupations will no longer be eligible for sponsorship under Tier 2, including marketing associate professionals and dental technicians.
If a migrant is assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship before 14 June 2012 and his job then falls off the list, he will need to meet the higher NQF level 6 threshold when applying for entry clearance or leave to remain.
The new skill level will not apply to those with current leave under Tier 2 or as a work permit holder, granted before 14 June 2012, and who are extending their leave under Tier 2 or making a change of employer application.
For more information on this subject please contact Andrew Osborne.
Image credit: Janusz B