Tier 2 cooling off period – new rules from January 2021
We explain the ‘cooling off’ period here in the context of the Tier 2 visa process. The Home Office expects to publish this month detailed new immigration rules. These will govern new work visas in the UK post Brexit. However, we already have several details about the new Skilled Worker visa. Great news for many migrant workers in the UK, means there will be no cooling off period in the Skilled Worker route.
This is a wonderful surprise to those in the UK on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route or who cannot qualify for settled in Tier 2 (General) route. Remember that if you are in the UK on Tier 2 ICT route , you are not eligible for settlement. This applies even after spending many years working and living in the UK. Furthermore, the Government limits the Tier 2 route to a maximum of 5 or 9 years in the UK. This however depends on the salary.
Currently, if the company or employee objectives change and they wish to remain in the UK for longer, they will encounter a tricky situation. That is if they do not want to leave the UK within 5/9 years period. Another situation arises, where someone travelled for extensive periods and cannot qualify for UK settlement at after their 5-year residence. The employee cannot apply for a new Tier 2 visa for 12 months because of a so called “cooling off” period.
How to bypass the ‘cooling off’ period
The only way to bypass this is to be a High Earner with an annual salary of £159,600. Not many roles and nor employers are can pay such salary to their workers. Even if they are, the employee must leave the UK and apply from abroad before coming back to the UK on a new visa. The current pandemic climate and travel restrictions, means moving back and forth with your family is an unpopular scenario.
In light of this, the ‘no cooling off period’ announcement applying to the new Skilled Worker visa is very welcome. Many workers in the UK could use the in-country switch and stay in the UK for a longer period. Some of them may be able to acquire settlement. The final confirmation of this should come in the form of new immigration rules the authorities will announce imminently. What this means in practice is that those willing to extend their work stay in the UK who would be affected by the cooling off period, should wait to benefit from the changes.
Where do I get help?
If you would like to know how your current situation is affected by the new immigration rules, please speak to our experienced immigration solicitors, who will be happy to provide their assessment of your case. You can get in touch by calling us on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.