Two new changes to the United Kingdom’s visa systems.
Occupation Shortage List
The shortage of occupation list has recently been expanded to include a range of skilled occupations, following changes to the Immigration Rules.
The changes mean that occupations such as veterinarians, architects and web designers will be added to the shortage occupation list (SOL), giving people coming to the UK to work in these industries priority in securing a Tier 2 work visa, over occupations not on the list.
It also means that employers can advertise job vacancies for the occupations included to all nationalities as soon as it’s available, making it easier for them to access the international talent they need.
The Tier 2 shortage of occupation list (SOL) is a list of occupations recognized by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as being in national shortage, which they assess would be sensible to fill, in part, through non-EEA migration.
Reflecting recommendations by the independent Migration Advisory Committee in its review of the shortage occupation list in May 2019, today the Immigration Rules have been amended accordingly, putting the changes into law.
When reviewing the shortage of occupation list, the MAC considers a range of factors including whether the role is in national shortage and whether it is sensible to fill with migrant workers.
In addition to expanding the SOL, the Immigration Rules have been amended to further demonstrate the government’s commitment to transferring the 480 unaccompanied children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 as soon as possible.
The updated rules will ensure that those children transferring under section 67 are granted with ‘section 67 leave’ upon arrival. This form of leave allows them to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and is a route to settlement which they would not ordinarily have had. Currently, those who transfer to the UK under section 67 only receive ‘section 67 leave’ if their asylum application is unsuccessful.
It will provide the children, and the local authorities who will care for them, with additional reassurance and guarantee their status in the UK at the earliest opportunity.
The Home Office has also streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit another test before entry to the UK on a Tier 2 visa. This change will make sure that hospitals and medical practices across the country will be able to access the staff they need more quickly.
Student Visa Changes
The UK Government has announced that it has plans in the pipeline for overseas students in the UK. A new immigration route will enable overseas students in the UK to stay for two years after they graduate. The UK Government hopes that these plans will enable some of the best students to stay. They also hope to attract more talent to the UK. This will, of course, offer wonderful opportunities for graduating overseas students. The plans will however only be introduced sometime in 2020.
To qualify, the graduate must have studied at a so-called trusted UK university or higher education provider. This provider must have a proven track record at the Home Office. The good news is also that there will be no cap on the number of overseas students that will qualify under these new plans.
Overseas graduates in any subject will be able to stay in the UK for two years to find work. They will be allowed to apply for jobs regardless of their skills or the subject they studied. The UK Government is hoping that the two-year allowance will increase their chance of finding long-term employment in the UK.
During these two years, graduates can then find employment that will fulfill the criteria for immigration routes leading to permanent residence, and switch to these routes. It will, of course also be possible for them to switch to other routes during this time that leads to permanent residence in the UK. Permanent residence will then, of course, lead to British citizenship.
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