The government has exempted niche professions such as bankers, lawyers and other migrants with high earnings from its immigration cap ( but only if they earn in excess of £150,000 per annum). This is redolent of the top-tier of the amended Tier 1 (General) visa introduced by the last government (in order to resist the Tory party’s aggressive anti-immigration campaign). Following the Labour Party’s electoral defeat, Tier 1 (General) visas died an undignified death in December 2010.
The government has also attempted to appease British scientists (who claimed that they were neglected in comparison to businesses) by announcing that from April scientists will have a “significant advantage” in coming to the UK for research.
However, it should be noted that these changes are not at all benign. Presently, the country is effectively closed to non-EU immigrants who are no longer able to arrive here to work in skilled and semi-skilled positions.
From 6 April the government is introducing 1000 visas for exceptionally talented people so that it can gloss up its jargon to conceal the unlawful aspects of its “immigration cap”.
In pursuance of the government’s ill-conceived policy, Mr Green (the immigration minister) is talking tough about capping the shortage occupation list (actually he can legally do this without being “Pankina compliant”, one of the points in his favour in the PBS JR). Last December, Mr Green rested the government’s failure to administer the 1971 Act as being “based on a technical procedural point known as Pankina grounds.”
As a lawmaker and a minister of the state, the question screaming out from Mr Green’s quotation (it really does beg itself) is how he, or the Home Secretary, can have such scant regard for the dignity and the supremacy of the law?
Insofar as Tier 2 (General) applications are concerned, Mr Green has revealed that for 2011 the available “quota” of 20,700 CoS will be spread over the year. In the first instance the sponsor system will be readied with 4,200 visas available for April (in order to match expected heavy demand). This will allow the government to achieve a neat distribution and 1,500 CoS will be allocated each month thereafter.
The UKBA has stated that:
Under the new system, employers will have to apply for a certificate of sponsorship from the UK Border Agency for a specific post if they wish to bring someone to the UK – this is a change from the current system which gives businesses an annual allocation.
Following criticism from the Business Secretary, the government has opted to keep the 12-month Tier 2 (ICT) flexible with a significantly lower earnings band of £24,000.
However, there will also be a threefold change to the ICT route (which is not part of the annual limit). The threefold requirements will be that:
- 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 a visa for 3 years with the possibility of extending for a further 2 years;
- Those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be allowed to come to the UK for 12 months without the option of a renewal.
An older post on the April rule changes is available here.