Tier 2 requirements scrapped for Skilled workers coming to the UK

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New Skilled Worker route is a significant step forward

Last week the UK’s new immigration system came a step closer to implementation with the Government releasing the Statement of Changes to the immigration rules HC813.

The Government has stated that the changes are a “significant step forward in the transformation of our immigration system, implementing the future global points-based immigration system and simplifying and streamlining the rules.

The changes will become affective on different dates. The 1st December 2020 will see the implementation of most of the changes. 31st December 2020 will see the changes enacted in respect of appendix EU, FM, ECAA and Irish citizens, coinciding with the Brexit withdrawal period ending.

Skilled Worker Route

The new route for non-UK Skilled workers will see changes to the old Tier 2 route. Applicants must meet the points-requirement by being sponsored to do a specific job with the required skill and salary level. The employer still needs a sponsor licence, but they will no longer need to do the Resident Labour Market Test. The Tier 2 cooling off period, the 6-year maximum stay limit and the Tier 2 cap have all been removed.

Other positive changes for skilled workers see the minimum skill threshold being lowered from RQF Level 6 to RQF level 3. The general salary threshold has decreased from £30,000 to £25,600, also the salary requirement is “tradeable” when other requirements are met. These include where the applicant

  • Has a PhD qualification relevant to the job role
  • Has a PhD in a stem subject relevant to the job
  • Has a job in a shortage Occupation
  • Is a new entrant
  • Is in a role in a listed health or education occupation.

The minimum salary threshold for indefinite leave to remain applications, which is currently at £35,800 is being scrapped and replaced with £25,600 or “the going rate” for the occupation.

English language Requirement

Proving your English language ability remains a requirement under the new rules, however, there have been changes in this area also.

Applicants will only have to prove they meet the language requirement once.

Malta has been added to the English Language country list and anyone with a degree from an Irish University will be able to rely on this as proof of English language ability.

Skilled workers will also be able to use as evidence any GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK as proof.

Maintenance funds

The maintenance fund has received a change, with the minimum maintenance fund amount being £1,270.00 for a skilled worker. The minimum period the funds must have been held for is 28 days. 

Provided the funds can be accessed immediately, applicants can refer to a wider range of accounts as proof of eligibility. Electronic bank statements will now be acceptable, and most applicants will need to submit evidence ending within 31 days of the date of application.

As the deadline for the new rules approaches, there is a lot of added pressure on employers to ensure they are ready for the new systems.

Michellebelle continues to work with employers to help them implement systems and processes to ensure they comply with the new rules, minimising disruption to workforce recruitment.

If you would like advice on preparing your organisation for the new rules, you can speak to one of our highly qualified consultants. Book time here, or email

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