Don't Panic over the introduction of UK minimum income threshold.
There has been a lot of confusion and panic about the minimum income threshold of £35 000.00.
Let's set the facts straight.
From 6 April 2016 most Tier 2 visa immigrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) must be earning £35,000 or more to qualify for UK indefinite leave to remain (also known as permanent residence), says the Home Office. Theresa May said the new rules will help to reduce the number of non-European Union/EEA nationals and their dependents that are granted permanent residence each year from 60,000 to 20,000.
The changes will be introduced for indefinite leave to remain applications under the Tier 2 (General) visa category, and the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa categories. The new rules effectively make it more difficult for many people to qualify for UK settlement (another term for indefinite leave to remain), most obviously those earning less than £35,000 a year.
The introduction of this new minimum income threshold will thus only affect persons in the UK on Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) immigration routes.
It will not affect applicants applying for permanent residence (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in any of the other immigration categories. In the meantime, a petition was started to urge the UK Government to halt the law coming into effect. The possibility of a rule change before its introduction is however very slim, as the new minimum income threshold has already been included in the UK Immigration Rules
Exceptions to the rule
Fortunately, there are also exceptions to this income threshold for Tier 2 migrants.
Tier 2 migrants whose occupations appear on the Shortage Occupation List will not have to fulfil the minimum income requirement. One of the occupations which would have been hit the hardest by the introduction is nursing. Fortunately, the UK Government added the occupation of nurses to the Shortage Occupation List in October 2015, which is obviously good news for South African nurses working in the UK.
If a Tier 2 migrant is skilled to Ph.D. level, the migrant will also be exempt.
Other exceptions include:
under certain circumstances, sponsored Tier 2 (General) migrants if their occupation was previously listed on the UK Shortage Occupation List;
Qualifying Work Permit holders who took a period of leave during the continuous five-year period preceding their ILR application; and
Tier 2 migrants with a Certificate of Sponsorship that were assigned before 6 April 2011 and who took a period of leave during the continuous five-year period preceding their ILR application.
Persons unable to satisfy the UK minimum income requirement
Normally, a Tier 2 holder can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after spending five years in the UK in this capacity. Should they not be able to qualify, they may be able to remain in the UK for a further 12 months in this capacity, bringing their total period of stay as a Tier 2 migrant to six years.
Persons who are unable to qualify under the minimum income threshold do not, therefore, have to fear reports in the media of them being deported within three months.
Exemptions from the £35,000 salary requirement
The £35,000 earning requirement will not apply to anyone in an occupation on the shortage occupation list and to scientists and researchers in PhD level occupations.
Different types of Visas to South Africans wanting to come to the UK
There are 3 main categories.
B- work and/or relocation
For more information on UK Visa's
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