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New Rules for Tier 2 Foreign Workers - What You Need to be Aware of

on Friday, 03 February 2017.

From 6 April 2017, skilled workers applying for Tier 2 visas outside the UK will need to provide criminal record certificates...

... in support of their applications if they are being sponsored to work in certain occupations.

Where can applicants get a certificate?

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.

Who will need a certificate?

The requirement applies where the worker is being sponsored under a specified occupation code. While higher education teaching professionals are excluded, the requirement does extend to 'senior professionals of educational establishments' (which might include senior administrators and Vice Chancellors) and 'teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified' (such as education consultants, nursery managers, 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.

What do employers need to do?

The Home Office's guidance states that Tier 2 visa applicants will be informed by their sponsor whether they will be required to provide a criminal record certificate. Yet, 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 to the minimum salary to £30,000
  • 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 higher education institutions therefore need to be aware of these changes and take them into consideration when planning their sponsorship activity.

For more information please contact Tom Brett-Young on 0121 227 3759.

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