Planned changes to UK Immigration Rules April 2017


As a reminder, the following changes affecting business immigration take effect on 6 April 2017:

Tier 2 salary threshold increases

The second stage of minimum annual salary increases announced last year will be implemented from 6 April, raising the threshold from £25,100 to £30,000 for experienced workers.

Applicants initially granted leave to enter or remain with a certificate of sponsor assigned before 24 November 2016 will continue to be subject to the £20,800 threshold.

For those initially granted leave with a certificate of sponsorship assigned between 24 November 2016 and 6 April 2017, there will be no transitional arrangement. They will be subject to the £30,000 threshold if they apply for extensions using CoS assigned from 6 April 2017 and none of the other exemptions given in the ‘Rates of pay’ section apply.

New Immigration Skills Charge

As recommended in the MAC report last year, employers sponsoring Tier 2 migrants will have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge. This new fee will be levied by the Home Office as an upfront charge of £1,000 per licence holder per year.

Exemptions to the skills charge include:

  • Foreign nationals with PhD occupations
  • Tier 2 (ICT – Graduate Trainee) holders
  • Applicants changing from a Tier 4 (Student) to a Tier 2 (General)

Small businesses and charities will be granted a reduced Immigration Skills Charge rate of £364 per holder per year.

ICT Route closure

The Tier 2 (ICT – Short Term Staff) visa will be closed to new applications.

Tier 2 (ICT) minimum threshold lowered

The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) higher earners who are able to work in the UK between five and nine years will be reduced from £155,300 to £120,000. In addition, the requirement for at least one year prior experience at the overseas entity will be removed for applicants whose UK salary will be £73,900 or over.

The minimum annual salary threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) applicants to be exempt from the one year prior experience requirement will be decreased to £73,900.

Resident Labour Market Test exemption

‘High value’ businesses relocating to the UK will be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test requirements. They will also be priotritised within Tier 2 (General) monthly quota limitations.

What does this mean for employers?

UK employers of migrant workers face increased costs per Tier 2 worker affected. Employers are advised to review their mobility requirements in light of these changes.

For employers considering the impact of the closure of the Tier 2 Short Term ICT route, we are able to advise on alternative entry options to minimise the impact on your business operations.

We are experienced advisers to employers on strategies for global mobility while ensuring compliance with immigration duties. If you have a question about the changes, or any related immigration matter, please get in touch.


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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