Global Alerts

United Kingdom – New Immigration rules released

The UK Home Office has released an update to the Immigration rules, below are the key changes to make note of:

Changes to the Skilled Worker, ICT and Tier 5 Government Authorized Exchange Route

From May 21, 2021: A new ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) requirement is being introduced for certain roles, which must be confirmed on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and requires the applicant to provide a valid ATAS certificate.

ATAS is traditionally used for international students (apart from exempt nationalities) and are intending to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects. The subjects are those where students’ knowledge could be used in programs to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery. These students must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK.

The new rules state that a non-exempt national requires a valid ATAS certificate if they are applying in a work route which requires a Certificate of Sponsorship, that Certificate of Sponsorship is issued by a work sponsor that is also a licensed student sponsor, and the role set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship is one of the relevant occupation codes, includes an element of research at PhD level or above and that field of research is a subject as listed in the immigration rules.

Changes to the Skilled Worker route

From April 6th:

· There will be an introduction of a blanket £10.10 per hour to the Skilled Worker minimum salary requirement. This will not apply to an applicant who was granted permission as a Skilled Worker under the Rules in place before April 6, 2021 and has had continuous permission as a Skilled Worker since then.

· If a sponsor wishes to reduce a salary on the basis the Skilled Worker can offset the reduced salary by relying on a different set of tradeable points, a new application will be needed. This ensures the new points are assessed by the Home Office and the Skilled Worker continues to meet the requirements of the route

· Amendment is being made to the transitional arrangements for the acceptance of allowances for people previously on Tier 2 General, to incorporate those who have since extended their leave as a Skilled Worker and have held this leave continuously

From July 1st:

· Those who wish to rely on the ‘New Entrant’ provision for skilled worker will also need to include any leave granted under the new Graduate route towards the maximum 4 years permitted under the new entrant provision.

· In relation to the ability to switch from Student/Graduate visa to Skilled Worker, a change is being made to the requirement for the applicant’s most recent permission to be as a Student (or Graduate), so that “most recent permission” does not include permission as a visitor.

Changes to the ICT route

From April 6th:

· A transitional provision is being reinstated to exempt Intra-Company workers who have been in Intra-Company routes since before April 5, 2011 from the maximum time limits that apply in the Intra-Company routes. Eligible workers can extend their permission for up to five years with each application.

Changes to the Global Talent route

From May 5th:

· A change is being made to allow applicants who have reached the pinnacle of their careers to bypass the endorsement requirement and instead qualify if they have received a prestigious prize.

Employers who may be affected are advised to contact an immigration specialist for general or case-specific advice.

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