The rules of Tier 2 of the Points Based Immigration System were changed on 6 April 2012.
The maximum stay was restricted to 6 years.
Migrants who leave after 6 years are not permitted to return for 12 months.
Migrants may apply for settlement after 5 years but with effect from April 2016, anyone who entered after 6 April 2011 must have a salary of at least £35,000.
This affects every business which uses T2.
The Royal College of Nursing estimates that up to 3,365 nurses are affected. Most nurses' salaries are on a scale from £21,692 to £28,180 with Nurse Team Leaders on a band from £26,041 to £34,876. The RCN's Chief Executive told the College's annual conference last month:
"The Immigration Rules for health care workers will cause chaos for the NHS and other care services. At a time when demand is increasing, the UK is perversely making it harder to employ staff from overseas. The NHS has spent millions hiring nurses from overseas to provide safe staffing levels. These rules will mean that money has just been thrown down the drain."
The old standby is to hire agency staff but the Secretary of State for Health says agencies are ripping off the NHS so he's going to cap its spending with them. That's just as well because NHS Trusts will need the money to pay the soon to be announced levy on employers who recruit non-EEA labour. We won't know the amount of the levy for a while; presumably the Home Secretary is saving this for her party conference speech. For what it's worth my guess is a flat rate of £1,000 per visa (easy to apply and collect) or a monthly surcharge of £100 per migrant worker (administratively complex therefore more likely).
The general inadequacy of training provision over the last 5 years suggests the prediction of chaos may be realistic and it won't just be in hospitals and care homes. Other sectors which rely on Tier 2 migrants include hotels, catering, IT and financial services.