A wave of non EU-migration changes hit employers' shores.... and storms are brewing

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A wave of non-EU migration changes hit employers' shores

Today, the first wave of non-EU migration changes come into force. These are changes manufacturers had wanted to see the Government put a stop to.

The changes had been expected a little bit earlier on in the year – October typically being the month such changes occur in the Autumn – however that little thing called Brexit has pushed back many announcements and this was one.

But I’m afraid the rocky non-EU migration reforms waves have hit the coastline and it’s important to know what changes are now on employers' shores:

  • The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (Skills Transfer) route – which allowed for the transfer of skilled people to or from the UK is now closed to new applicants,
  • The minimum salary for the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (Short Term) route – which allows companies to transfer employees for up to 12 months is now £30,000 for new applicants – up from £24,800 previously,
  • The minimum salary for Tier 2 (General) has increased to £25,000 for new applicants, up from around £20,800.

Employers should brace themselves for the April tidal wave

And it doesn’t end there. In April a tidal wave of further changes will come into force. And I call it a tidal wave, because not only will April see the following changes to non-EU migration......

  • A new Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per year per worker,

  • The closure of the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (Short Term) route,

.....but April 2017 is also the month of:

We’ve previously blogged on the need to pause or eject these changes and given the political and economic uncertainty currently facing businesses, the case for doing so is stronger than ever.

Let’s remind ourselves that the new Immigration Skills Charge was announced to “fund UK apprenticeships” a tad redundant now we have the UK-wide Apprenticeship Levy.

And just to really highlight the significance of the closure of the Tier 2 short term ICT route. If companies can no longer use this route, they must then use the Tier 2 long-term ICT route….which will require a minimum salary threshold of £41,500. A hefty price to pay just to bring a non-EU employee from one of your sites outside of Europe into the UK!

Storms are brewing – time to take action

The direction of travel from Government on this issue is clear. It’s not right direction in our opinion. Don’t let me even remind readers of the suggestion that employers may have to report the numbers of “foreign” workers they employ....

But it seems that the ambition to cut net migration to “tens of thousands” is not going away. And increasingly, the Government is using price (salaries) to sift out as many potential applicants as possible.

It’s vital to ensure then that if you are planning to recruit from outside of Europe or you’re generally recruiting and the best person for the job could be from outside of Europe….or even if you’re considering moving a non-EU national from a global site to the UK, make sure that the pay threshold is in line with these new changes.

And if you need a bit of help benchmarking salaries, then why not take a look at EEF’s Pay Benchmarking data.

Author

Head of Education & Skills Policy

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