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Law Society disapproves of fresh limit on Tier 2 immigration

Society believes new limits would reduce UK law firm’s ability to hire international talent


19th September 2011:
The Law Society has condemned the UK Government’s proposal to apply fresh limits on Tier 2 immigration.
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The members of the society believe that new limits would greatly diminish the ability of UK law firms to recruit international talent.

The UK Government is at present mulling over removing the Tier 2 visa as a visa category. It leads to permanent residence after five years of residence in the UK.

This is part of a wider evaluation of UK immigration policy aimed at reducing immigration to the "tens of thousands" each year.

The Law Society are of the opinion that deleting the permanent residence right would severely dent the UK’s global competitiveness at a time when the economy needs any improvement it can get. Many law firms in the UK depend on international talent.

The Law Society president John Wotton said that the Law firms look upto to the international market because they are engaged in a global competition for talent with international firms from other jurisdictions, such as the United States.

He added that the Global legal businesses were interested in employing only the best talent.

Wotton elaborated that Non-EEA migrants employed by law firms tend to be high earners. They would be spending their disposable income and paying taxes in the UK.

Recent immigration restrictions are not only affecting law firms, but their clients as well.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner added that their clients were revealing that the cap was having an economic impact. This was because organizations had to holdup hiring key individuals and consider relocating roles overseas.

Infact for most people, immigrating to the UK for work required applying under the points-based system.

As per the new restrictions people who work for international companies could come under the Tier 2 Intra-company transfer route.

However, some people who are engaged by a foreign business can immigrate to the UK as ‘representative of an overseas business’.

The Tier 2 visa system has a limit on the number of visas that can be issued each year. There is no such limit in the representative of an overseas business category.

For coming to the UK as a representative of an overseas business certain requirements the migrants would be required to follow certain rules.

As per the regulation the migrant must have been recruited as a senior employee outside of the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business is outside of Britain.

The migrant must not be a majority shareholder in the company and should not work for another employer.

The migrant also must need to be able to support himself and his dependants during the stay in the UK. The company must not already have a branch, subsidiary, or other representative in the UK. 

The regulations also suggest the employee must have full authority to take operational decisions for the company and must be able to speak English.

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