Skilled Worker Salary Threshold to Rise Post Changes in Immigration Rules

The upcoming amendments to immigration regulations in the UK will bring a rise in the skilled worker salary threshold. Overall, there are significant changes that will come into effect on April 4, 2024. 

This article provides an in-depth exploration of the implications stemming from the heightened salary threshold. Additionally, we will also review the new immigration law. 

New Immigration Rules and Skilled Worker Salary Threshold

The Home Office has announced significant changes to the new immigration rules. This includes adjustments to the Skilled Worker salary threshold and family/partner visa requirements, set to take effect from April 4th and 11th, respectively. Here’s a summary of the key points:

Skilled Worker Visa Changes

  • The Skilled Worker salary threshold will increase by 48% from £26,200 to £38,700. This threshold is based on median UK earnings in eligible occupations.
  • Sponsoring employers must pay Skilled Workers either the general skilled worker salary threshold or the going rate for the individual occupation, whichever is higher.
  • Going rates will also rise from the 25th percentile to the median, based on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) pay data.
  • Health and Care visa workers and occupations with national pay scales will have different threshold requirements.
  • The Shortage Occupation List will be replaced by the new Immigration Salary List, with occupations on this list eligible for a 20% discount to the general salary threshold.

Family/Partner Visa Changes

Other than skilled worker salary threshold changes, there are also changes in the Family/Partner visas.

  • The financial requirement for family/partner visas will increase from £18,600 to £29,000.
  • Exceptions will be made for cases involving insurmountable obstacles to family life outside the UK, where it would not be reasonable for a child to leave the UK, or where refusal would breach ECHR Article 8 due to unjustifiably harsh consequences.
  • Additional changes to the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) apply to HM Armed Forces partner routes.

Other Changes

  • Amendments to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will expand access to settlement provisions for victims of domestic abuse.
  • The Shortage Occupation List is replaced by the Immigration Salary List, impacting eligible asylum seekers’ employment opportunities.
  • Simplifications and amendments have been made to Appendix AR: Administrative Review EU.

The changes in skilled worker salary thresholds and others are made to align with the government’s broader strategy to reduce immigration. They aim to encourage investment in the resident workforce while ensuring families make a positive economic impact. 

The changes are set to come into effect on April 4, 2024, following their laying before Parliament on March 14, 2024.

Skilled Worker Salary Threshold Increase – Who Will Be Affected?

The new immigration law will significantly affect various stakeholders in the UK immigration system. Employers looking to sponsor overseas workers under the Skilled Worker visa route will face substantial adjustments. Particularly those in sectors with traditionally lower salary levels. 

For individuals applying for Skilled Worker visas, meeting the heightened skilled worker salary requirements may impact their eligibility for UK employment opportunities. Additionally, families and partners seeking visas will need to meet increased financial thresholds, potentially impacting their ability to reunite in the UK. Moreover, the replacement of the Shortage Occupation List with the Immigration Salary List could reshape employment prospects for asylum seekers and those seeking roles in shortage occupations. 

These changes herald a move towards a stricter immigration framework, affecting employers, prospective immigrants, and families alike.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers need to act swiftly in response to these upcoming changes. They should promptly assess their hiring needs to devise effective strategies. Issuing Certificates of Sponsorship to potential candidates early enables them to apply before the April 4 deadline. Employers must also prepare for necessary Skilled Worker salary adjustments to meet the new thresholds. While existing skilled workers may be exempt from the heightened salary levels, employers should ensure their pay progression aligns with resident workers’ rates. 

Employers must stay vigilant and closely monitor any further developments. Keeping abreast of updates ensures they can adapt their strategies accordingly and navigate the evolving landscape of immigration law effectively. By doing so, employers can mitigate potential challenges and continue to meet their workforce needs amidst the changing regulatory environment.

The upcoming changes represent a holistic transformation of immigration policy. Adjustments to the skilled worker salary thresholds aim to balance and encourage investment in the local workforce. Scheduled to take effect on April 4, 2024, these changes are significant in the progression of UK immigration law. 

Contact us today if you require legal advice on employment law matters. Redmans Solicitors are employment law specialists and could assess your case before advising on your possible next steps.

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