Immigration Law Update - January 2017


25 January 2017

This month's immigration update features articles covering Immigration Health Surcharge - Tier 2 ICT, Tier 2 SOC codes and much more.

Immigration Health Surcharge – Tier 2 ICT

As anticipated the government has laid draft legislation to extend the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferees. At the time of writing we still do not know exactly when this will come into force, but expect it will be early April 2017.

The IHS costs £200 per year of the visa. Sponsors who wish to avoid this cost (as well as the Immigration Skills Charge of £1k per year from April) should ensure any anticipated ICT visa applications are made as soon as possible.

Tier 2 SOC codes requiring a criminal records check

From 6 April 2017 individuals applying for a Tier 2 visa to perform certain roles, will be required to submit a criminal record check with their visa application. A certificate is required from any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more, consecutively or cumulatively, in the previous 10 years, whilst aged 18 or over. This requirement will also apply to any adult dependants they have (for example their spouse). To avoid delays this needs to be factored into the application timetable and sponsors should warn workers of the requirement in good time. The affected roles are:

SOC Description
1181 Health services and public health managers and directors
1184 Social services managers and directors
2211 Medical practitioners
2212 Psychologists
2213 Pharmacists
2214  Ophthalmic opticians
2215 Dental practitioners
2217 Medical radiographers
2218 Podiatrists
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified
2221 Physiotherapists
2222 Occupational therapists
2223 Speech and language therapists
2229  Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
2231 Nurses
2232 Midwives
2312 Further education teaching professionals
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals
2315 Primary and nursery education teaching professionals
2316 Special needs education teaching professionals
2317 Senior professionals of educational establishments
2318 Education advisers and school inspectors
2319 Teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified
2442 Social workers
2443 Probation officers
2449 Welfare professionals not elsewhere classified

Tier 2 CoS allocation renewal

Every Tier 2 sponsor has an annual allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), which sit in the Sponsor Management System. This allocation can be set to 0, but most sponsors will wish to ensure they have at least 1 CoS available each year.

The allocation year runs from April. If a sponsor has any unused CoS at the end of the year, they will be lost and there is no possibility to carry over.

Some sponsors will find that their allocation renews automatically and they have no say in how many unrestricted CoS they are given. However, others will have the option to specify how many CoS they require for the coming year. Annual allocation requests can now be made through the Sponsor Management System for the year commencing April 2017.

Sponsors should consider how many CoS they will need in the next 12 months for employees who will need to renew their visa and for new hires from within the UK. New hires from outside the UK will be subject to the restricted CoS regime.

Any request will need to be justified, so sponsors cannot request a large number of CoS ‘just in case’ they are needed. It is possible to apply in year for an allocation increase, but this can be a slow process and so sponsors should plan ahead as far as possible.

Maintenance for Dependants of Tier 5 Temporary Workers

A-rated sponsors of Tier 5 Temporary Workers can now certify maintenance for their dependants, bringing them into line with the rules applicable to Tier 2 workers. This is helpful as it avoids the need for the dependant to show that they or the main applicant have held £630 for at least three months prior to date of the visa application.

The sponsor can give the undertaking by endorsing the CoS, or by letter. The undertaking is that, should it become necessary, they will maintain and accommodate the family member for a month. The undertaking may be limited provided it is at least £630 per dependant.

EEA Nationals and Brexit

Teresa May has now outlined her 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations. These include the removal of free movement rights. Our advice remains that EEA nationals currently in the UK should secure their status as best they can, for example by applying for a permanent residence card. See our earlier article: http://www.birketts.co.uk/resources/legal-updates/1945/what-should-eu-nationals-be-doing-now/

Only time will tell what any new system for EEA nationals will look like and what rules will apply for British citizens wishing to travel in Europe. Over the past couple of months numerous organisations have published their views and findings in connection with Brexit and different types of immigration. The Home Affairs Select Committee has now launched an enquiry into developing a consensus on an effective immigration policy for the UK. Ideally they would like submissions by 20 January 2017, although late submissions may still be accepted. For further details please see: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/161208-new-inquiry-immigration

Prevention of Illegal Working

The government’s Operation Magnify targeting ‘risk’ industries has now moved on to nail bars. Between 27 November - 3 December 2016, 280 nail bars were visited in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff and 97 arrests were made. Sixty eight businesses will be fined unless they can prove they carried out valid right to work checks.

We believe the next sector to be targeted will be hospitality. Restaurants, bars and hotels who have not already reviewed their procedures should check they have completed appropriate right to work checks for all of their employees.

 

For more information on any of the matters covered in this update, please contact Clare Hedges or Janice Leggett in our Immigration Law Team.