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UNITED KINGDOM – Quota Levels To Remain Till 2014; Increased Skill Levels Required; Some Relaxations for Resident Labour Market Test

The UK Home Office has published another Statement of Intent announcing proposed changes to take place from 14 June 2012. This statement covers quota levels for restricted Certificates of Sponsorship, announces increased skill level requirements for Tier 2 applications and relaxes Resident Labour Market Test requirements for highly paid or PhD positions. The statement follows two previous Statements of Intent on tiers 1, 2, 5 and domestic workers and study and post-study work.

Quotas for Tier 2 General

The current limit on Certificates of Sponsorship issued to employer sponsored migrants under Tier 2 (General) will remain at 20,700 per year until 5 April 2014. Unused places are not carried over from one year to the next.

The government will seek advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the Home Office appointed independent advisory body on migration, in mid-2013 for new limits from 2014.

Note that the quotas do not apply to Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship, including Certificates of Sponsorship issued to Intra Company Transferees.

Minimum Skill Requirements

The minimum skills level for Tier 2 migrants, including Intra Company Transferees, will be raised from National Qualifications Framework (NQF) 4 to NQF 6 from 14 June 2012.

There will be some limited exceptions to this, for those on the Shortage Occupation List and in certain creative occupations.

In effect, this means that 27 middle management level occupations, including IT technician, office managers, security managers and customer care managers, will no longer be open to migrant workers. The full list can be found at Appendix B of the Statement of Intent here.

Tier 2 sponsoring employers must identify the relevant Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) code for occupations to be filled by Tier 2 migrant workers. The UK Border Agency has noted that sponsors are frequently using incorrect SOC codes and reminds employers to review SOC codes carefully sponsors/points/sponsoringmigrants/employingmigrants/codesofpractice/.#here.

Relaxation of Resident Labour Market Test

The Resident Labour Market Test (the requirement to advertise non intra company transfer positions in a specific way) will be relaxed for jobs paid more than £70,000GBP per year and for specified PhD level occupations, as follows:

  • those jobs paid more than £70K (but less than £150K)and specified PhD level occupations will have to be advertised but not in Jobcentre Plus.
  • Sponsors may select the best candidate, regardless of whether they are a resident worker, for vacancies in ‘PhD-level’ occupations. This is a change from the current Resident Labour Market Test requirement where a suitably skilled settled worker must be selected.
  • For PhD-level jobs only, the period for which the Resident Labour Market Test is deemed to have been satisfied (other than under the milkround provisions) will be extended from 6 months to 12 months.
  • The list of PhD level occupations and relevant SOC codes is as follows:
    • 1137 - Research and Development Managers
    • 2111 - Chemists
    • 2112 - Biological Scientists and BioChemists
    • 2113 - Physicists, Geologists and Meteoroligists
    • 2311 - Higher Education Teaching Professionals
    • 2321 - Scientific Researchers
    • 2322 - Social Science Researchers
    • 2329 - Researchers not elsewhere classified.

Action Items

  • Note that 27 middle management occupations will no longer be eligible for Tier 2 Approval
  • Note the relaxation of RLMT requirements for jobs paid over £70K and PhD level occupations

The information in this alert was provided by the UK Border Agency

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.