Significant changes to Tier 2 will come to force on April 6, making settlement applications tougher and taking a heavy toll on small UK businesses.
Those who entered on a Tier 2 visa after 6th April 2011 can only be granted a maximum of 6 years on this type of visa.
Therefore Tier 2 visa holders will have to apply for settlement prior to reaching the 6 years.
However applying for settlement is going to be difficult for many of those on a tier 2 visa, with the introduction of the new minimum pay requirement of £35000 if the appropriate rate for this employment is lower.
This means that if the applicant is not earning a minimum of £35000 by the time they apply for settlement in the UK from April 2016 onwards, then they could be faced with leaving the UK and having to wait 12 months before they can apply to come to the UK under Tier 2.
This will not only make it difficult for applicants but also for employers. The reason that a person is granted the right to enter or remain in the UK under Tier 2 is because the vacancy that they are filling cannot be filled by the resident labour market. The employer has to spend a lot of time and money in filling these roles as it has to be advertised and candidates interviewed before the role is filled.
If these roles are filled by a migrant worker and the employee is with them for 5/6 years, at this stage if they are unable to offer them a salary of £35000 then that employee will no longer be able to remain in the UK. It can be appreciated that few jobs, especially in the current economic climate can meet a salary of £35000. In fact this would cripple many small businesses.
However losing such employees will also have an effect on the business as they will have to advertise the position again and go through the recruitment and training processes. And the employee who will have established a life in the UK over that period of time will have to face returning.
This does not feel as though it has been a thought out process by the government at a time when it should be helping small businesses to grow and expand. Most businesses will end up losing valuable employees who make a difference to their business.
by Sejal Karavadra
Head of the Immigration Department at DBS Law
The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact DBS Law on 020 8884 1166 for a Consultation with a Solicitor.