Key actions for employers in response to the changes of the UK immigration rules

18 Apr 2024, 24 mins ago

In a landmark shift, the UK’s immigration landscape witnessed significant changes effective from 4 April 2024, marking one of the most extensive overhauls since the post-Brexit immigration system’s inception. These amendments, detailed in a Statement of Changes by the Home Office, bring forth critical adjustments affecting various immigration pathways.

The crux of these alterations revolves around heightened salary thresholds, updated job classifications and the introduction of the Immigration Salary List (ISL), among others. With such transformations, it becomes even more important for employers to navigate these changes effectively, ensuring compliance and strategic workforce planning.

Firstly, the increase of general salary thresholds, notably in the Skilled Worker route, demands a review of current salary structures to align with the revised benchmarks, as your organisation must be aware of the minimum wages that have to be paid to new sponsored overseas workers. Salary requirements have risen, and the pool of occupations open to sponsorship has shrunk, meaning that employers might discover that positions once eligible for sponsorship no longer fulfil the necessary criteria. This could make it tougher for them to assist applicants in obtaining the right to work in the UK. The recalibration of ‘going rates’ necessitates a re-evaluation of compensation packages for sponsored employees to meet the enhanced criteria.

The replacement of the Shortage Occupation List with the Immigration Salary List brings a reassessment of roles eligible for sponsorship, considering the removal of the 20% discount on the going rates. Furthermore, updates to SOC codes underscore the importance of accurate job classification to maintain sponsorship eligibility.

Employers must take proactive steps to reduce risks and navigate regulatory changes smoothly. The key actions include:

  • Assessing ongoing and upcoming recruitment needs against the revised eligibility criteria.
  • Identifying employees with time-limited permissions and strategising visa renewal pathways.
  • Supporting employees with visa applications or exploring alternatives such as indefinite leave to remain (if the employee is eligible).
  • Reviewing and updating internal processes and policies to align with the latest immigration guidance.

In essence, proactive engagement and meticulous planning are paramount for employers to navigate the recent immigration changes, safeguard compliance and preserve the workforce in the face of change.

 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 XFacebookInstagram, 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.

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