On 13th December 2012, the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) eased immigration regulations for skilled worker (sponsored with a job, Tier 2) transfers. The main changes are:
- Maximum stay is increased to a maximum of 9 years for individuals earning more than Ł150'000 annually. As previously, individuals earning more than Ł40'000 annually are allowed to stay for a maximum of 5 years.
- Permitted time to spend out of the UK and still be eligible for settlement is now 180 days a year. Previously, the limit was 180 days over a 5 years (36 days a year on average)
- Cooling-Off Period will start as soon as the individual leaves the country. Previously, the individual had to wait until the end of the visa duration or to go through a procedure called visa curtailment to start the cool-off period. The period itself remains the same at 12 months, which have to be spent outside of the UK before obtaining another Tier 2 visa.