At the start of April 2016, the UK government put in place new requirements for the Tier 2 Visa policy. The changes mean that for most of the non EU migrants who are in the working in the country on this visa, they will now need to earn a minimum salary of £35,000 if they want to qualify for settlement within the UK.
Interestingly, the non EU members who have already been working within the country as far back as April 2011, are not exempt as they could face deportation as well if they don’t meet the requirement.
The change has brought about wide spread controversy due to the effect it could have on the business economy in the country. The companies who largely depend on foreign talent and skilled workers in order to function will be affected as it is believed it will now be much harder for them to recruit these higher levelled professionals from outside of the EU.
Tier 2 visas, simply put, are given to non EU workers who obtain sponsorship from a business. It was first introduced as a measure to employ overseas workers where it was impossible to fill the position from a local based individual. The visa gives skilled foreign workers the chance to gain settlement and work permits in the UK after completing a stint of 5 years of residency. Those who remain for the full five years – which will in fact increase to 6 years under the new ruling – must then guarantee they meet the minimum requirements for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). If they don’t they will need to leave the country for a period of 12 months before they can then reapply for settlement.
The scheme will not actually effect every job however as jobs that are on the official shortage occupation list, will be exempt. Positions in programming, electronics, medicine, social work and engineering are all trades that the policy change won’t effect.
The new salary requirement could cause a big disruption for UK business. For the companies that cannot afford to pay employee’s the new wage requirement, it could have dangerous ramifications. Currently, many business operating in the country rely on non EU workers in order to carry out their services. If as a result of the new laws, businesses have no other option than to cancel contracts of the sponsored workers that they employ, it could have a detrimental effect as they’ll be forced to hire less skilled staff in order to make up for their loss. The knock on effect is that they will have to take steps to recoup for this. As the new employee would be less experienced, time would have to be taken out in order to train them up and at that level companies can’t afford to ‘A’ lose out in the short term and ‘B’ take the risk on someone who may not be as good as the non EU workers, ultimately meaning the quality will suffer.
Further arguments have been made in regards to the UK’s business attractiveness. It has been raised that the changes will make already established businesses – who already pay tax and are a profitable service for the country – look to relocate. If they can’t get the staff they need due to the changes, they will naturally look to move in order to set up somewhere else if it proves more lucrative for their situations. This will mean that the UK economy could take a massive hit if businesses start leaving or alternatively, disregard a move to the UK to set up as they will see it as a negative step. Those provide an immigration service for the nation have experienced an influx of enquiries due to the impact of these changes already. The true extent of the changes will be gathered over the coming months, but there is large cause for concern brewing within the country already.