New Tier 2 Visa Changes to Affect Businesses

New changes concerning Tier 2 visas are predicted to have huge repercussions for businesses who have skilled workers from outside of the EU among their workforce. These changes focus on anyone who arrived in the UK to work after April 2011 on a Tier 2 visa. Now, unless EU migrants are earning £35,000 a year or more, they will be unable to qualify for a visa. Unsurprisingly, immigration services have been bombarded with inquiries regarding concerns surrounding how greatly the change will affect certain individuals.

Ultimately, it will result in anybody from outside the EU, who arrived to the UK on a Tier 2 visa after April 2011 and is earning less than £35,000 per annum, being deported. This is despite the lives they may have built up for themselves here or any career progression they’ve achieved. Please note, for those who have arrived on a EEA family permit, exceptions may apply. The backlash however, for businesses who depend on skilled workers from overseas in order to function will be immense, especially those smaller businesses.

Where larger companies may not have any objections to surpassing the new £35,000 wage figure in order to keep their skilled workers, smaller businesses and startups are unlikely to be in a position to do so. There is also a worry that this will have a knock on effect on the UK economy as a whole, which will result in foreign entrepreneurs becoming hesitant to carry out business in the country and many companies having to close down.

However, there are said to be certain exceptions to the ruling which could make all the difference to some individuals and businesses. If a skilled worker from outside of the EU happens to have a particular skill listed on the skill shortage list (which was produced by the government), then the new income threshold will not apply to them, and they will be eligible to be granted a Tier 2 visa. Nevertheless, this skills list is liable to change at any time due to the fluctuation of the country’s needs and wants, therefore skills could be added or removed from the list at any point.

Due to all of the uncertainty, a likely outcome is for skilled workers, including those referred to in the skill shortage list, becoming reluctant to come and work in the UK. The risk of being deported at short notice is sure to be too much for some. It has already led to increase in companies requesting oisc training, in order to train their executives up on dealing with their legal visa matters. The full extent and the impacts that the move will have upon the UK are yet to become apparent, however we are being warned that the economy is likely to feel the effects.

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