New Visa changes, how will they affect UK businesses?

Visa Hell, Flickr, John Barker
Visa Hell, Flickr, John Barker

The government have announced a brand new regulation regarding Tier 2 Visas. The change is set to massively impact businesses that employ skilled workers who are located outside of the EU, as well as those who are already settled in the UK who came to work on a Tier 2 Visa since April 2011.

In light of a report, which was conducted by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the changes will see a large amount of non EU migrants now have to earn a minimum of £35,000 per year in order to qualify for a visa.

The impact of these new changes could have a detrimental effect on businesses, in particular those who heavily rely on skilled workers from abroad in order to function in their chosen sector.

The changes have caused great debate already since their announcement by Theresa May last month. Those providing an immigration service have been massively hit with queries due to the impact these changes will have on those living in the UK currently on a Tier 2 visa who arrived in the UK after April 2011. The individuals who fall below the newly set income threshold, as well as those who’ve come to the UK after this defined point in time, will now face deportation regardless of the lives they’ve built or career progression they’ve worked at.

The impact of these new changes could have a detrimental effect on businesses, in particular those who heavily rely on skilled workers from abroad in order to function in their chosen sector. There is also worry that there will be a domino effect on the UK economy as a whole, that will see businesses closing down and non-resident entrepreneurs being put off setting up business interests in the country.

Tier 2 visas are mandatory for workers who come to the UK from outside of the EU. They require sponsorship from a business in order to show evidence that they officially have obtained a job. Therefore, businesses that are looking to hire from outside of the EU are required to demonstrate that the position in question, can’t actually be filled by anyone within the resident population. If not, then the granted Tier 2 visas allow applications the right to work in the UK for the designated time that their visa condition states.

These changes however, will mean that being skilled is not longer enough as the salary now being offered by the sponsoring company must exceed the new £35,000 figure or they will be refused. The change isn’t receiving much complaint from larger companies as this will be a sum that won’t really effect them, however for the start-ups and small businesses, it could have catastrophic implications. At the moment within the UK, there are 5.4 million businesses in the private sector and an alarming 99.9% of those businesses, fall into the ‘SME’ category, highlighting just how detrimental this could be.

The skills list however, can change at any point as the nations needs change and skills get removed from the list.

Like most immigration changes, it has been reported that there are certain exclusions to the ruling, which will be important to note. Those working from outside of the EU who form part of the skill shortage list – created by the government – will be exempt from the new income threshold. The skills list however, can change at any point as the nations needs change and skills get removed from the list. Furthermore, critics have even pointed out that the exemptions are highly convenient to the government as they’ll be able to change the shortage list at any time.

The move could also see skilled migrants, that are currently working on the shortage skills list, be dissuaded to come to the UK regardless due to the uncertainty that surrounds the matter. As with little notice, they could be deported down the line regardless of the salary exemption.

The true extent of the consequences that the new move brings has not yet surfaced but over the next few months when the change starts to really take effect, critics are warning people not to be surprised to see the UK economy taking a knock.

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