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United Kingdom – Immigration – Government Sets First Annual Limit for Non-EU Migrants

UK Immigration

Background

The United Kingdom Government announced earlier in the year an intention to introduce a permanent cap on the numbers of non-EU economic migrants from April 2011.

In order to meet the Government’s aim of reducing net migration to the “tens of thousands” (a central policy of the Conservative manifesto) the Home Secretary announced that from April 2011 economic migration through Tier 1 (for the highly skilled) and Tier 2 will be reduced from 28,000 to 21,700, equating to a fall of more than a fifth compared to the numbers of economic migrants coming through these Tiers in 2009.

The Home Secretary confirmed that intra-company transfers (ICT’s) will remain outside the limit. However, in order to reduce the numbers, a new salary threshold of £40,000 will be imposed on any intra-company transfers of longer than 12 months. This is to ensure that only senior managers and key specialists that international companies need to move will qualify.

It will be interesting to see what impact the new measures have on business after April, but the low level of the cap – coupled with the additional restrictions to be placed on ICT’s - is likely to mean that the problems faced by companies during the period of the interim cap are set to continue.

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