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Employers: Annual Tier 2 limit announcement

04 April 2012

Rules have been laid in parliament confirming changes to Tier 2 of the points based system.

Following the Migration Advisory Committee report in October 2011 to advise on the 2012-13 annual limit for Tier 2 and associated policies, the government has after careful consideration, announced that:

  • The Tier 2 (General) limit will remain at its current level of 20,700 for the next 2 years until April 2014.
  • The skill level required by migrants who wish to work in the UK will increase. This means th... e number of middle-management jobs such as IT technicians and security managers will no longer be open to migrant workers. However, highly-skilled occupations such as architect, teacher or chemical engineer will still be available.
  • Additionally, the rules for businesses around advertising highly paid and PhD jobs will be relaxed. This will cut bureaucracy, meaning companies will no longer have to advertise vacancies through JobCentrePlus, where they are unlikely to get applicants for these types of jobs, but will still have to advertise more widely. Furthermore, companies will now be able to select the best candidate for PhD level occupations, even if they require Tier 2 sponsorship.

For the full detail of the changes, please see the statement of intent which was also published today.

These reforms will continue to restrict the ability of lesser skilled workers to enter the county and deny UK residents job opportunities. These changes are key to improving the selectivity of the UK immigration system - ensuring that only the brightest and the best are able to come to the UK and work.

Immigration minister, Damian Green said:

'The government has been clear that the UK is open for business and our limit has been designed with the industry's needs in mind.

'We believe there is no incompatibility between economic growth and controlling migration - our reformed, more selective immigration system can achieve both.'

Prospective workers will still need to have a graduate level job, speak an intermediate level of English and meet specific salary and employment requirements before they are able to work here. Those earning a salary of £150,000 or more will not be subject to the limit.

These changes are part of the government's radical overhaul of the immigration system. Firm action has already been taken on the student route, settlement and those coming here to work, in order to bring immigration levels back down to sustainable levels and make sure we receive only the brightest and best people. By summer the government will also have made changes to family migration routes.