Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer’s closure paves way to a new employer conundrum

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The UK immigration decided to officially put an end to a particular Tier 2 category that facilitated the acquisition and transfer of foreign workers to the country.

You can live & work in the UK! go >>

For years, the Tier 2 (ICT) Skills Transfer category had been the local employers’ go-to route for such, chiefly because it was perfect for bringing in foreign talents crucial in developing local products and services. This had also been a crucial scheme for employers to hone local employees’ skills and transform them into indispensable and reliable additions to the growing UK workforce.

“The first of two phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee will affect applications made on or after 24 November unless stated otherwise,” said the government in a statement.

Experts believe that it could have an impact on not only the foreign talent-dependent UK job market but also non-EU nationals planning to work in the country. Although there’s the Tier 2 (ICT) Short Term category, it appears to be quite inaccessible to most entry-level applicants. The government requires a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 (and 12 months of previous employment with the sponsor organisation overseas) for this category; a condition that could discourage more applicants, especially those that are younger and inexperienced.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that the move is all about favouring the “legal” workers, and by which the process of ridding the country with illegal immigrants will be faster and more seamless. "The UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if, at the same time, we can step-up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain," May said in a speech she delivered in India.

Thus, the possibility of relaxing these new changes in the near future remains blurry. Nonetheless, this will encourage more foreign nationals and employers to re-examine existing UK immigration rules to look for more accessible routes.

Talk to one of our ICCRC-recognized migration consultants if you have additional questions regarding the Tier 2 category or if you want to seek advice on entering the country via a different visa route. You can also take our free online assessment to assess your eligibility to obtain a work visa to the UK.