How is the new Skilled Worker visa better than the Tier 2 (General)?
The immigration rules regarding the migration of EU and EEA workers to the UK have changed on 1 January 2021. On this page, we are going to discuss the benefits of the changes for those wishing to migrate to the UK on a Skilled Worker or Intra Company Transfer visa. To find out about the changes regarding Tier 2 General or ICT visas please click on this link.
Abolishment of the Labour Test Market
The main and most beneficial change to the Tier 2 General visa is the abolishment of the Labour Test Market. This change has made the recruitment of EU and EEA workers more flexible for employers. They no longer need to advertise a specific role for 28 days on at least two different platforms or provide evidence of interview notes. The aim of this strict test was to ensure that an EU or EEA worker is only employed if UK-settled applicants were not qualified or experienced enough for the specific role. This change is saving employers 4-8 weeks as well as the cost of advertising on national job sites.
Reduced qualification requirement
The minimum skill level was reduced from RQF 6 (degree level or above) to RQF 3 (school leaver). This allows many EU and EEA medium-skilled workers such as librarians, artists, or office managers to migrate to the UK on a Skilled Worker visa. However, these jobs still have to be on the Standard Occupational Code job list in order to qualify.
Abolishment of the 12-month cooling-off period
Under the old rules, Tier 2 (General) migrants were required to travel back to their country of nationality for 12 months after their visa has expired before they were allowed to apply for another Tier 2 (General) visa. Under the new Skilled Worker visa, workers can extend their stay from the UK and they can even apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if they want to settle permanently. The minimum salary requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain was also abolished, allowing migrants with medium-skilled jobs to apply.
What about the new Intra Company Transfer visa?
There is only a slight change to the ICT visa, but it is still more favourable than the old regulations.
Switching to a Skilled Worker visa
Intra Company Transfer visa holders are now able to switch to a Skilled Worker visa in the UK if they meet the requirements. If their Skilled Worker visa is approved, they may also apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if they wish to do so, subject to meeting the requirements. Although, it should be noted that the years spent in the UK on an ICT visa will not count towards the five-year requirement for ILR settlement.
The cooling-off period was abolished for ICT visa holders too which means that they cannot hold a Tier 2 ICT or an ICT visa for longer than five years in any six-year period. Due to the high-earner threshold being reduced to £73,900, ICT visa holders are now able to extend their visa to 9 years.