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Summary of the changes affecting the TIER 2 category after 6th April 2010

05 May 2010

In light of the several enquiries received so far by UK employers and employees facing the difficult task of familiarizing themselves with the changes brought in by the UK Border Agency on 6 April 2010, we have prepared a simple summary of the most important amendments.

Initial applications

The points scoring table has been amended, so that applicants will only be awarded points for earnings above £20,000 instead of the previous £17,000 or more. These adjustments ensure that all applicants in non-shortage occupations need prospective earnings of at least £20,000 to qualify under the Tier 2 Scheme. Further, 15 points will be now awarded for a Masters' degree in place of the previous 10 points. Migrants will still be able to qualify if their occupation were to fall in  the "shortage occupation” list.

Extension applications

For Tier 2 extension applications, there is no longer the need to test previous earnings over the time the migrant has spent in the UK as 50 points will be awarded automatically to all applicants.

However, to qualify for an extension, the applicant must have a Certificate of Sponsorship to continue working in the same job for the same sponsor. They must also be paid at least the same, or higher, salary than that shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship for their previous grant of leave. The salary must also be at least equal to the current appropriate rate for the job, which may have increased since the last application.


Payment of allowances is still acceptable, as long as the total salary package is at least equal to the appropriate rate that a resident worker would be paid.

Following MAC’s recommendation allowances have been scaled down and only a proportion of it would be awarded points.

The gross salary figure stated on a Certificate of Sponsorship is used to check that the salary is at the appropriate rate for the job and to award points for prospective earnings. The stated salary must be the actual gross salary package that will be paid to the migrant.

Changes of Employment

A change of employment application is required if a Tier 2 migrant wishes to work for a different sponsor.

One of the significant changes introduced in April 2010 concerns those who are changing jobs, but remaining with the same sponsor and within the same Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). From 6th April 2010,  these applicant will not need to submit a fresh change of employment applications as sponsors will be able to notify any change to their employment’ record via the SMS on the UKBA website.

However, there are two exceptions:

·         Those who salary reduces below the level stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship (other than company-wide reductions or reductions due to maternity, or adoption leave) will require a change of employment application. Please note that a change of employment application is not necessary for increases in salary in line with the market rate.

·         Job changes within the SOC code from a job on the shortage occupation list to a job that is not on the shortage occupation list will require a change of employment application.

It is a sponsor’s duty to report any changes in a migrant’s pay, other than those due to annual increments or bonuses, and to report any changes in start / end dates of employment or changes in working location.

Intra Company Transfers

The Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) category was designed to allow multinational companies to transfer staff to a skilled job in the UK branch for posts that would not otherwise be filled by resident workers.

From 6 April 2010, Intra-Company Transfers are being split into three new sub-categories:

1) Established staff - to fill posts requiring established employees that would not otherwise be filled by resident workers;

2) Graduate trainees – for new graduates who need to come to the UK as a part of a structured training programme;

3) Skills transfer – for new employees who will not fill a UK vacancy and are coming solely for skills transfer reasons.

The most significant change following the introductions of new rules is that the Tier 2 (ICT) category will no longer be a route to settlement in the UK.

However, this does not apply to those applicants who are already in the UK with leave to remain under the Tier 2 ICT category as their settlement rights will not be affected.

Highly Trusted Sponsor

The UK Government is going ahead with its intention to introduce a new category of ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ under the Points-Based System and in the autumn this category will be introduced across all businesses.

The sponsors will have to meet a set of criteria to obtain ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ status. These criteria are being developed and will be published in the coming months.

This new category will provide the best businesses with more streamlined approach to bringing workers to the UK without compromising security. Enhanced services will include faster, tracked processing times, a simpler process for changes to licenses, simplified application processes, and increased access to information and guidance from trained account managers.

If, at any point the UK Border Agency becomes aware of a sponsor not maintaining their performance against the criteria, the sponsor’s status will be downgraded to an appropriate level.

Resident Labour Market Test

The MAC recommended introducing a certification regime for at least those employers identified as high risk. In the coming months the UK Border Agency will decide how a certification regime can best be added to the existing sponsorship controls, and how such a regime might work in practice.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.