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Skilled Worker rules changes effective 4 April 2024

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The Government has published the rules changes for Skilled Worker visas. All changes discussed here take effect on 4 April 2024. Please check back in on our website for summaries of immigration rules changes that relate to visa types other than Skilled Worker.

Salary requirements

As anticipated, the Government is raising general salary threshold for the Skilled Worker category from £26,200 to £38,700, and raising the occupation-specific salary thresholds or ‘going rates’ to the median salary for each type of role. Using the median salary level as the going rate threshold for each type of role means that 50% of salaries for each type of role fall below the threshold and 50% fall above it.

Sponsors must elect the appropriate points option from options A through K reflected in the table below. If this seems daunting at first, consider the following summary of the points options, before wading into the details, to help you disregard the irrelevant options before honing in on the most appropriate option:

  • Options A through E are to be used for applicants who are granted Skilled Worker permission under the rules in place from 4 April 2024, except for Health and Care roles. These are the roles for which the general salary threshold is between £30,960 and £38,700 and for which the going rate is the median salary level;
  • Options F through J are transitional points options for applicants who are granted Skilled Worker permission under the rules in place before 4 April and have had continuous permission as a Skilled Worker since that grant of permission. Also covered in this tranche of options are Health and Care roles the salaries for which are determined by Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data rather than national pay scales. For these roles, the general salary threshold is between £23,200 and £29,000 and going rates are maintained at the 25th percentile (25% of salaries will fall below the threshold and 75% will fall above it); and
  • Option K is for roles for which the salary is determined by national pay scales, i.e. certain health and education roles.
OptionRequirements
AThe applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both: £38,700 per year; and the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
BThe applicant has a PhD in a subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds both: £34,830 per year; and 90% of the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
CThe applicant has a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds both: £30,960 per year; and 80% of the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
DThe applicant is being sponsored for a job on the Immigration Salary List and their salary equals or exceeds both: £30,960 per year; and the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
EThe applicant is a new entrant at the start of their career and their salary equals or exceeds both: £30,960 per year; and 70% of the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
F*  The applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both: £29,000 per year; and the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
G*The applicant has a PhD in a subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds both: £26,100 per year; and 90% of the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
H*The applicant has a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds both: £23,200 per year; and 80% of the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
I*The applicant is being sponsored for a job on the Immigration Salary List and their salary equals or exceeds both: £23,200 per year; and the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
J*The applicant is a new entrant at the start of their career and their salary equals or exceeds both: £23,200 per year; and 70% of the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code.
KThe applicant is being sponsored for a job in a listed health or education occupation and their salary equals or exceeds both: £23,200 per year; and the going rate for the SOC 2020 occupation code, based on national pay scales.

* Only available if the applicant was granted Skilled Worker permission under the rules in place before 4 April 2024 or the role qualifies as a ‘Health and Care ASHE salary job’.

Once a sponsor has identified the correct option from the above table, the next step is to consult the salary tables in Appendix Skilled Occupations to identify the appropriate going rate.

Going rate salary tables

Appendix Skilled Occupations is being replaced by a new version based on Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) 2020 data. Changing jobs from a SOC 2010 role to the equivalent SOC 2020 role is permitted. Additional tables are added to Appendix Skilled Occupations to facilitate Skilled Workers in SOC 2010 roles to apply to extend permission or apply for settlement.

Several tables set out going rate information for roles eligible for Skilled Worker sponsorship:

  • A table reflecting SOC 2020 occupation codes and going rates based on 50th percentile ASHE data applicable to Skilled Workers first granted permission under the rules in place from 4 April 2024;
  • A table reflecting SOC 2020 occupation codes and going rates based on 25th percentile ASHE data applicable to applicable to Skilled Workers first granted permission under the rules in place before 4 April 2024; and
  • Tables reflecting roles where going rates are based on national pay scales.

Replacing the Shortage Occupation List with Immigration Salary List

The Shortage Occupation List is replaced by an Immigration Salary List comprised of roles where “the Government thinks it is sensible to offer a discounted salary threshold” according to the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules. See points options D and I above.

Please read our article ‘The Immigration Salary List – What’s the points?’ for details regarding the new Immigration Salary List and related MAC report.

Supplementary employment

Skilled Workers are permitted to undertake supplementary employment in any role that is eligible for the Skilled Worker route. Supplementary employment is permitted for up to 20 hours per week, with an employer other than a Skilled Worker’s sponsor and outside the working hours for which a Skilled Worker is sponsored.

A new route for sponsoring workers?

Immigration practitioners are puzzling over a new definition in the Immigration Rules for ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ to include “the record linked a Sponsorship Reference Number given by a sponsor to an applicant through an invitation to apply, using the ‘Sponsor a Worker’ scheme operated by the Secretary of State”.

Does this mean that the Government is implementing a framework for SME’s to sponsor non-UK nationals to work without first obtaining a sponsor licence? The government floated this idea in its White Paper for a post-Brexit immigration system. Watch this space for more information on this enigmatic change in the Immigration Rules.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Author avatar
Samar Shams
Managing Partner @ Changes Immigration
samar.shams@changesimmigration.com
+44 (0) 7591 385033