The UK Border Agency has published a statement of intent, to help employers prepare for changes to the points-based system.
The statement announces changes to the codes of practice for skilled migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area. These will come into effect on 6th April 2013 and will also affect the timing of the applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship in March and April. The changes include:
• Changes to the lists of skilled occupations
The UK Border Agency’s current codes of practice use the Standard Occupational Classification 2000 system. They are updating their skill lists and levels to reflect the new Standard Occupational Classification 2010 system.
• Changes to salary requirements
The minimum appropriate rates for skilled workers in each occupation are being simplified and updated to reflect changes in pay for settled workers. In addition, the overall salary thresholds which apply across Tier 2 will be increased in April, in line with wage inflation.
• Changes to the way the resident labour market test is conducted
The current lists of specific publications and websites where vacancies can be advertised will be replaced with a set of simple criteria for identifying suitable media. These new criteria will make the resident labour market test more flexible, giving employers more freedom to advertise where they think will be most successful, while ensuring settled workers have the opportunity to apply for jobs.
This follows a review of the codes of practice carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) last year.
The statement of intent sets out the government's response to the MAC's recommendations and how we will update the system to make it more user-friendly for both applicants and sponsors.