The UK Government has announced in the beginning of June 2011 that they are launching a 12-week public consultation on reforms to the work routes leading to settlement. The key proposals under consideration in this public consultation include;
- Making the Tier 2 (skilled worker) route a temporary route, which would mean that settlement will not be available for those who enter on this route.
- Allowing certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK, to retain an automatic route to settlement.
- Creating a new category into which, after three years in the UK, the most exceptional Tier 2 migrants may switch and go on to apply for settlement.
- Allowing Tier 2 migrants who do not switch into a settlement route to stay for a maximum of five years with the expectation that they and any dependants will leave at the end of that time.
- Introducing an English language requirement for adult dependants of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a route to settlement.
It is important to note however that the above are only proposals. At this stage it will thus not affect any current or prospective Tier 2 applicants. We do however recommend that persons wanting to apply for this route do so sooner rather than later, should the proposals take force after consultation.