New Immigration Rules introduced on for companies to hire overseas graduates on a Tier 2 skilled worker visa.

The government is currently attempting to UK employers from hiring overseas professionals by increasing the costs incurred by the immigration process. The new rules, however, soften the blow for Tier 2 graduate applicants and their potential employers.

How will the new rules affect the Tier 2 visa category?

Non-EEA (European Economic Area) graduates of a UK university who have returned overseas and now wish to apply to work in the UK under the Tier 2 route will be given more weighting within the monthly Tier 2 (General) allocation system. This highly competitive system with a limited number of visa places available each month and only applications scoring enough points are likely to be accepted. The new rule, however, means that applications from UK graduates will be given more attention each month and will consequently have a higher chance of success than they did previously.

The increased minimum salary requirement of £25,000. This means that many graduate applicants will only need a salary of £20,800 in order for their Tier 2 (General) visa application to the considered by the Home Office.

Future applicants of the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) Graduate Trainee programme, as well as graduate trainee hires who are already here, can now change occupation within their sponsor organisation either before or after they complete their training programme without needing to submit a new visa application or their sponsor needing to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test. This should make the visa category a flexible and attractive option for both parties.

The Tier 2 (ICT) Trainee subcategory has been made all the more enticing due to a further rule change reducing the required minimum salary for applicants from £24,800 to £23,000. This will encourage both applicants and employers to make use of the immigration route, especially now that the number of programme places available to each sponsor employer has increased from five to 20 per year.