The UK Government has issued a statement of intent for the revised Tier 2 Guidelines that apply to work visas applied for by a sponsoring company.
The changes, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, will come into effect from 6 April 2011.
In addition to a limit on migrant numbers, changes will be made to the eligibility criteria.
The threshold skill level will be increased from National Qualification Framework level 3 to graduate degree level. Consequently, many occupations will no longer be eligible for the Tier 2 (General) visa. This doesn’t affect normal graduate level recruitment (or skilled occupations requiring a higher degree or extensive experience).
For those migrants subject to the limit the employer will need to apply for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), these will be allocated once every month.
The employer will need to make a number of checks before applying for the Restricted CoS, for example, to establish whether the occupation is on the Shortage Occupation List and that the job meets minimum applicable salary requirements.
If the number of eligible application exceeds the limit for a given month, applications will be prioritised using a ranking system such as that detailed in the statement of intent.
When the CoS is issued to a migrant he/she will have to also apply for an entry clearance visa provided he/she has sufficient points, appropriate salary for the job, maintenance provision (as now) and appropriate level of English.
This information is not intended to be exhaustive and should not be exclusively relied upon. The full statement can be found on the UK Border Agency’s website: