Mark Harper, the UK immigration minister announced a series of proposed changes to the UK immigration system on Thursday 14th March 2013. He told the House of Commons that the changes will be introduced on April 6th 2013. The most significant changes will be made to the Tier 2 visa scheme, the tier visa of the UK's five tier points-based immigration system that is for skilled workers with a job offer.
Mr Harper announced a series of changes including
- Cap for Tier 2 (General) visas fixed at 20,700 per year until further notice
- An update of the Shortage Occupation List. Some medical occupations are removed from the list. Some engineering occupations are added
- Amendments to the Code of Practice for Employers
- Changes to salary thresholds and minimum appropriate salaries for individual occupations
- A series of changes designed to 'further improve flexibility for Intra-Company Transferees and for employers carrying out the Resident Labour Market Test'
- A rise in the level of fees
- The Tier 2 visa system was established in 2008 by the then Labour government. Skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area who have a job offer in the UK can apply for a Tier 2 visa. In order to apply, they must have a valid job offer from a UK employer which has a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence from the UK Border Agency.