On 4 December 2023, the Home Office announced that by Spring 2024, we can expect a substantial, almost 50% increase in the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas.
The new minimum salary for Skilled Workers will rise from £26,200 to £38,700 per annum based on a 37.5-hour working week. Employers who rely on migrant workers for low-paid skilled jobs could begin to experience financial difficulties which may potentially put their companies at risk. The UK Government’s intention behind this increase is to tighten the UK’s immigration policies and consequently reduce net migration.
Health and care workers and some other occupations, such as teachers (who are paid against the national pay scales), will be exempt from this new increase and should still qualify for the Skilled Worker visa category. By contrast, the hospitality industry will see a big hit. Approximately 95% of the chefs and managers granted a Skilled Worker visa last year would not qualify under the new Rules. Moreover, only around 15 jobs out of 250 different categories in the hospitality industry would have a going-rate salary above £38,700.
What does this new increase mean for the Shortage Occupation list?
Currently, there is a 20% discount applied to the minimum salary for visa applicants willing to undertake roles on the shortage occupation list. However, under the new Rules that will come into force in Spring 2024 this discount will no longer apply. Instead, a general overall salary threshold discount is expected to be established, but this is yet to be confirmed. The number of jobs on the shortage list will also be revised, and it is expected that certain jobs in technology and engineering sectors may be removed from the list.
In light of the new salary threshold combined with the new Immigration Health Surcharge figures, employers are less likely to consider hiring migrant workers, making it more challenging for workers and their families to move to the UK. If you are a UK-based employer, it may be prudent of you to review the immigration statuses of your sponsored staff at your earliest convenience. Should you find that any employees of your company have visas that cannot be extended any further, such as Graduate or Student visas, it is recommended that you consider facilitating their transition to the Skilled Worker visa route without waiting for their current leave to expire in order to take advantage of the current immigration Rules.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.