The rules for the Government’s ‘new’ Points Based System for UK immigration have included a relaxation of the minimum income requirement for Settlement.
For some years Tier 2 General visa migrants who wanted to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain were required to be earning at a rate that was far in excess of the minimum salary required for sponsorship and very often in excess of the salary level that they could expect to earn for their occupation.
The current minimum salary required in order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain is £35,800 and this was expect to increase to £36,200 from 01 April 2021.
This requirement was brought introduced by Theresa May in 2011 while she was Home Secretary as part of a number of measures brought in to try and reach David Cameron’s somewhat arbitrary ‘net migration’ target.
The Home Office had previously restricted the period for which Tier 2 General migrants could remain in the UK to six years for most migrants. This change meant that migrants were forced to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or leave the UK as they would no longer be able to continue extending their visas for an indefinite period of time. Having done this the Home Office then started a process of massively increasing the fees for ILR, often doubling them, until they reached the current fee of £2,389 for each applicant. The internal cost to the Home Office of processing these applications is estimated at somewhere between £300 and £400.
The relaxation of the minimum income rule for Settlement should help many Tier 2 General migrants to avoid being forced to leave their jobs after six years.
These changes have been welcomed by many and it is hoped that other unfair requirements, such as the excessive Immigration Health Surcharge paid by migrants in addition to the tax and National Insurance contributions that they already make, might eventually be addressed.