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Government U-turn on Immigration Rules

Changes to the Immigration Rules were announced by UK Visas and Immigration yesterday which impact on a number of different visa categories.

What are the changes?

The following additions have been made to the Shortage Occupation List thereby making it easier for migrant workers in these roles to obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa:

  • IT specialist product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist
  • Nurses

Why have these changes been made?

Earlier this year the independent Migration Advisory Committee, after consideration, recommended against adding nurses to the Shortage Occupation List.  Since then, the heads of 10 leading NHS Trusts, plus the NHS Employers organisation wrote to the Home Secretary expressing their grave concerns about patient safety being placed at risk by an inability to recruit nurses from overseas.

It has been noted however, that if there is insufficient evidence to justify the continued inclusion of nurses on the List, the role will be removed.  For the time being, this addition to the Shortage Occupation List will come as a sigh of relief to healthcare providers in the private and public sectors as it will remove the need to advertise the vacancy via the Resident Labour Market Test and give higher priority to applications for Nurses when allocating places in the Tier 2 limit.

The technology roles relate specifically to jobs based in small and medium-sized qualifying companies (between 20 – 250 employees), requiring five or more years’ relevant experience and demonstrable experience of having led a team.

The inclusion of additional IT roles is in line with the widening of Tech City UK’s endorsement criteria for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa as reported in our recent newsflash.  The Immigration Rules now reflect the changes to the criteria used by Tech City UK for endorsing digital technology applicants.

What does this mean for me?

Due to these changes, it is recommended that where possible, applications for indefinite leave to remain are submitted well in advance of 6 April 2016. Applications for Tier 2 (General) visas can be time consuming and complex and particularly for those jobs added to the Shortage Occupation List, it is recommended that certificates of sponsorship are generated and individual visa applications are submitted sooner rather than later.

How can Ward Hadaway help?

For information on how Ward Hadaway can help your business or your potential recruits with sponsorship, visa applications and compliance with the Immigration Rules please get in touch with a member of the team.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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