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Tier 1 closed to new applicants

UKBA have issued the new provisions under Tier 2 (General) for graduates who would previously have been eligible under Tier 1(Post Study Work). Tier 2 (General) will be open to recent graduates with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD, or a PGCE or PGDE, from a UK recognised or listed body.

As per the normal Tier 2 requirements, applicants must have an offer of a skilled job from a licensed sponsor and be paid at least £20,000 or the minimum appropriate rate set out in the relevant Code of Practice. However, the employer will not have to complete a resident labour market test and the jobs will not be subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 numbers (i.e. the Certificates of Sponsorship will be in the Unrestricted category).

The Home Office will monitor the numbers switching. We intend to commission the Migration Advisory Committee to review the appropriate rates in the Codes of Practice to ensure they are up to date. Migrants using this route will be able to sponsor new dependants, on the same terms as other Tier 2 migrants.

Tier 1 closed

They may continue to sponsor any dependants whom they sponsored as a Tier 4 migrant. This is a change from the policy proposals set out in their March 2011 Statement of Intent. Tier 4 Dependants will continue to be able to switch into Tier 2 employment in their own right, but will be subject to the Tier 2 limit. Tier 4 migrants will be able to switch into Tier 2, as described above, once they have been awarded their qualification.

In-country switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 will not be permitted for those who have not completed their studies, except for PhD students who, as now, must have completed at least 12 months of study. A migrant who wishes to switch to Tier 2 from Tier 4 may start work as a student with the Tier 2 employer if their Tier 4 leave is still valid and allows them to work. The employers should however not offer a permanent contract until the Tier 2 application is approved.

If a migrant wishes to undertake a period of professional training following a course of study in order to obtain a professional qualification, this can be done by switching into Tier 2. If this is not possible, the relevant sector body may seek to establish a dedicated scheme within Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) to allow further training prior to return overseas.

It is not possible to switch from Tier 5 to Tier 2, but we will make provision for switching from Tier 4 to Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) to allow this professional training to take place. Graduates will probably face fierce competition to secure employment in the UK but that is probably what the government’s aim is when theysay they want to retain the brightest and the best graduates.

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