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Changes to Tier 2 Visa Requirements Affecting Further Education Colleges - Why You Should Be Prepared

on Thursday, 16 February 2017.

From 6 April 2017, lecturers and senior FE administrators applying for Tier 2 visas outside the UK will need to provide criminal record certificates in support of their applications.

Criminal record certificates need to be obtained from any country in which the sponsored worker and any adult family members who are accompanying them have resided for 12 months or more in the 10 years prior to their application. The criminal record certificate (or certificates) will need to be obtained before the visa application is submitted so applications may be held up if there is a delay in the issue of the certificates.

The requirement applies where the worker is being sponsored under a specified occupation code, which includes "further education teaching professionals", "special needs education teaching professionals", "senior professionals of educational establishments" (which might include the principal of an FE college) and "teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified" (e.g. education consultants, music teachers, private tutors and TEFL tutors). The full list of affected occupation codes can be found in the Home Office's guidance on conducting criminal records checks.

The Home Office's guidance states that an applicant applying for a visa as a Tier 2 migrant will be informed by their sponsor whether they will be required to provide a criminal record certificate, but it is unclear whether sponsors themselves will be reminded of this requirement after issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship in one of the specified occupation codes. Further details of how this requirement will be implemented are expected in due course.

This change comes on top of other recent and forthcoming changes to Tier 2, which include an increase in the minimum salary to £30,000 and the introduction of an Immigration Skills Charge which will require sponsors to pay up to £1,000 per year per sponsored migrant in addition to the other application fees and charges. Sponsoring employers therefore need to be aware of these changes and take them into consideration when planning their sponsorship activity.

For further information on how your college or your staff could be affected by these changes, please contact Tom Brett Young on 0121 227 3759.

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