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UKBA update Codes of Practice rules for work permit holders and Tier 2 employers | Immigration Matters

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This week the UK Border Agency (UKBA) published a ‘statement of intent’, to help employers prepare for changes to the points-based system. 

The statement announces changes to the codes of practice for skilled migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area. These will come into effect on 6 April 2013 and will also affect the timing of the applications for restricted ‘certificates of sponsorship’ (CoS) in March and April. The changes include: 

  • Changes to the lists of skilled occupations

The UKBA current codes of practice use the Standard Occupational Classification 2000 system, so they are updating our skill lists and levels to reflect the new Standard Occupational Classification 2010 system.  

  • Changes to salary requirements

The minimum appropriate rates for skilled workers in each occupation are being simplified and updated to reflect changes in pay for settled workers. In addition, the overall salary thresholds which apply across Tier 2 will be increased in April, in line with wage inflation.  

  • Changes to the way the resident labour market test is conducted

The current lists of specific publications and websites where vacancies can be advertised will be replaced with a set of simple criteria for identifying suitable media. These new criteria will make the resident labour market test more flexible, giving employers more freedom to advertise where they think will be most successful, while ensuring settled workers have the opportunity to apply for jobs. 

The announcement follows a review of the codes of practice carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) last year. The statement of intent sets out the government’s response to the MAC’s recommendations and how we will update the system to make it more user-friendly for both applicants and sponsors. 

For full details of the changes, and the transitional arrangements we will put in place, please see the statement of intent

The Codes of Practice salary levels could affect a work permit holder’s chances of qualifying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or permanent residence in the UK.

Cynthia Barker said:

“After 5 years continuous work, work permit holders should be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, but many are being refused ILR because their employer has not played by the rules.

“When you apply for ILR, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will dig into every aspect of your work history and conduct in the UK, looking for any excuse to deny you and your family the right to settle here.

“On 6 April 2011, the Government introduced a change to the settlement rules for work permit holders who came in prior to the points based system. You must be paid a certain salary in order to qualify for indefinite leave, as specified in the Tier 2 Codes of Practice.”

In one recent case, appeal specialist managed to overturn a refusal on appeal after the UKBA refused a Senior Care Worker ILR because her employer had not paid the correct salary and had used her to do domestic work.

In another case where a Filipina was refused for failing to declare a conviction, which she thought was just a fine for travelling on a train without the correct ticket. Immigration application forms ask specific questions about criminal convictions and civil judgments, such as County Court Judgments (CCJ’s), which can lead to a mandatory refusal. Others slip up because they have claimed benefits whilst on a work permit, which is not allowed.

If your application gets refused, consult a qualified immigration adviser to look at all your options. You may have to appeal against the refusal or use Article 8 ‘right to a family life’ human rights grounds, as a reapplication will contain the same information. 

The good news is that the appeal tribunals have ruled against the Government. In a case involving a work permit holding care worker, the Judge allowed an appeal against a refusal and ordered the UKBA to grant her Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

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