UK: Timetable For Implementation Of Changes To The Points Based System

Last Updated: 18 December 2009
Article by Caron Pope and Louise Carson

During the course of 2009, the Migration Advisory Commission ("MAC") was asked to report on the following issues:

  • What further changes to Tier 1 of the Points Based System should there be in 2010/11, given the changing economic circumstances?
  • Is there an economic case for restricting Tier 2 to shortage occupations?
  • What is the MAC's assessment of the economic contribution made by the dependants of the Points Based System and their role in the labour market?

The MAC has now produced their report and their recommendations in relation to Tier 2 have been accepted by the UKBA. We await UKBA's response to the MAC's findings as to Tier 1 but would expect these recommendations to be accepted in full although it is unclear whether these changes will be brought into force at the same time as those under Tier 2. We refer you to our recent Law-Now ( on the changes for further detail.


14 December 2009

  • Resident Labour Market Test extended to four weeks. Employers relying on adverts posted on or after this date must ensure that the role is advertised for at least four weeks.

Mid to Late January

  • Statement of Intent and impact assessment published

16 March 2010

  • Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules and revised guidance published

6 April 2010

  • New policies come into force. This is expected to include:

Qualifications: Specific professional qualifications will be regarded as equivalent to National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 3, Bachelor or Master degree level.

Masters Degree: Will be awarded 15 points under Tier 2, instead of the current 10 points.

Prospective Earnings: Minimum thresholds for 5, 10, 15 and 20 points increased to £20,000, £24,000, £28,000 and £32,000 respectively from £17,000, £20,000, £22,000 and £24,000 respectively.

ICT Route: Qualifying period with the company overseas to be increased from 6 to 12 months and the route will no longer lead to permanent residency. In practice this means a Tier 2 (ICT) migrant cannot stay in the UK beyond 5 years without the employer advertising the role.

If a Sponsor wishes to transfer an employee into the UK and retain him here for more than 5 years, a Tier 2 (General) application (with Resident Labour Market Test) should be undertaken at the outset.

Transitional provisions should be introduced so that this new rule captures only Tier 2 (ICTs) transferees post 6 April 2010.

New sub categories

These are being introduced in response to the gaps in PBS left by the abolition of the Training and Work Experience Scheme and Student Internship Programmes. Detailed guidance will follow in due course but the key elements are set out below.

Graduate trainees – Tier 2 (ICT)

  • Graduate occupations only
  • Maximum period of 12 months
  • Must have been employed for at least 3 months overseas before transfer to the UK and have graduated within the last 24 months (to be confirmed)
  • No immediate switching into permanent role in the UK without Resident Labour Market Test being undertaken.

This will benefit employers running global graduate training programmes where part of the rotation is to be spent in the UK.

Interns Tier 5

  • A Sponsor will be able to register under Tier 5 without the need for an overarching sponsor.
  • CoS valid for 3 months for a summer placement and 12 months for gap year and postgraduate placement.
  • The role must be supernumerary (i.e. not be a genuine vacancy).
  • Switching into Tier 2 (ICT) will not be permitted based on time spent working here under this category.
  • No immediate switching into permanent role in the UK without Resident Labour Market Test being undertaken.

Skills transfer (Tier 2 or Tier 5)

The UKBA has recognised that there is a need for employers to be able to bring employees into the UK to either upskill UK staff or receive training from UK staff. It is still considering the best way for this to be implemented.

Treatment of Allowances

The UKBA are continuing to conduct analysis of the allowances which may be counted towards a migrant's salary package and it is unlikely that any changes to allowances will be introduced in the first quarter of 2010.


The UKBA is moving forward with the MAC's recommendations and has introduced an aggressive implementation timetable. Employers should be particularly mindful of the changes to the Tier 2 (ICT) category and should ensure any transferees with less than 12 months experience overseas are issued with a CoS prior to 6 April 2010. Employers should also ensure that all transferees under Tier 2 (ICT) after April 2010 are warned that this category does not lead to settlement to avoid problems at the 5 year point. For long-term postings to the UK, this may mean that a resident labour market test will have to be undertaken even for longstanding group employees to ensure that they can work towards gaining permanent residence after 5 years.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 17/12/2009.

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