Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) refunds – an update

There has been some confusion with regard to getting refunds for Immigration Health Surcharge payments when a second application is submitted across a time period when an IHS charge has already been paid.

Our understanding initially was that the person or company who paid the first IHS payment would receive a refund for each complete six months period that was not used due to a new visa being issued (and therefore new IHS being paid).

However it now appears that the refund is made to the person or company paying the IHS with a new application and the original payer gets nothing back.

New changes to Tier 2 to be introduced this autumn

A number of small changes to Tier 2 will be introduced in the Autumn as part of the UKVI’s response to the MAC Report late last year.

Here is a brief summary of the main points likely to affect our clients:

• The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) “experienced workers” goes up to £25,000 in October and to £30,000 p.a. next April 2017. In reality most NQF Level 6 roles have a minimum salary requirement above £30k anyway.
• The threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) short-term goes up from £24,800 p.a. to £30,000 p.a. prior to the sub-category being closed in April 2017.
• The threshold for Tier 2 (ICT) Graduate Trainee goes down from £24,800 p.a. to £23,000 p.a.
• The Tier 2 (ICT) Skills transfer sub-category will be closed.
• Tier 2 (ICT) applicants will become liable for the Immigration Health Surcharge

New “Immigration Skills Charge” for employers

No such luck with the proposed Immigration Skills Charge we suspect, as the government continues to press ahead with plans to introduce a new skills charge, with effect from 6 April 2017.

The Immigration Skills Charge will be levied on employers that employ migrants in skilled areas. Set at £1,000 per year for each Tier 2 CoS issued by large organisations, and a reduced rate of £364 for small or charitable organisations, it is designed to cut down on the number of businesses taking on migrant workers and incentivise training British staff to fill those jobs.

An exemption to the charge means that it won’t apply to PhD-level jobs and international students switching from student visas to working visas – a key protection they would say to help retain the talented workers and students who are vital in helping the British economy grow. Neither does it apply to ICT Graduate Trainees.

UK NARIC Proof of English assessments

UK Visas has set up a special arrangement with UK NARIC to ensure a speedy turnaround of the Statement of Comparability and English Language Assessment.

Nationals from non-English speaking countries can no longer use the Points Calculator to show they have a degree that was taught in English, Instead they must submit their degree certificate, Transcript and MOI letter from their University to UK NARIC who will examine these and, if acceptable, issue a Statement of Comparability and English Language Assessment.

Even those in English-speaking countries, other than the UK, must still provide a Statement of Comparability to show their degree is comparable to a UK degree.

Our fee of £175 + VAT includes the £125 NARIC fee and approximately £10 for the delivery charges. The whole process takes about 10 working days.
By comparison a typical English test, in India for example, costs about £170 and may take four weeks or more to book.

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UK VISAS NO WIN NO FEE PROMISE

We provide a ‘No Win – No Fee’ guarantee for all points-based system visa applications unless expressly stated at the time of appointment. We will guarantee our service for these applications by offering a full refund on our fee should it be unsuccessful.

These guaranteed terms are conditional upon the client being able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office that they have earned the income claimed or that they have the necessary funding in place for maintenance or are fully conversant with their business plan in the case of Tier 1 Entrepreneurs.

It also presumes that neither the applicant nor their dependants have previously come under scrutiny or been under investigation by the Home Office for any immigration matter. In order that we can do our job properly the necessary information and details required should be made available and they must genuine as well as accurate.