More Changes to the Points Based Immigration System

The Government proposes to limit the number of people it will allow into the country in 2011/12 under the new Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category to 1000. As we have known for some time, the limit under Tier 2 (General) will be 20,700, which will be strictly rationed on a monthly basis. A total of 4,200 Certificates of Sponsorship will be available in April, thereafter, the monthly limit will be 1,500.

Other proposed changes to Tier 2 (General) include:

  • raising the minimum skill level to one broadly corresponding to graduate level. There will be a list of qualifying graduate level occupations and employers may not issue Certificates of Sponsorship unless their job is on either the Graduate Occupation List or the Shortage Occupation List; and
  • a higher English language requirement.

There are a couple of proposals affecting Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers):

  • jobs must be on the new Graduate Occupation List; and
  • those paid between £24-40,000 per annum will only be permitted to remain in the country for 12 months, after which they must leave. They will not be eligible to re-apply for further leave until another 12 months have elapsed.

There is nothing unexpected in this package, which is part of an emerging policy which might be paraphrased as "go away, we're full." However, the Government is stuck with the legacy of its predecessors and as the rules tighten, we are seeing more, and stronger, claims by individuals under the Human Rights Act. At the same time, companies are facing increasingly challenging issues as this country's rules fly in the face of globalisation.