Changes to the salary threshold under work routes 

Changes have been made to salary thresholds which came into effect on 4th April 2024 with the aim to reduce net migration by encouraging businesses to invest in the resident workforce rather than over-relying on migration.

Sponsoring employers now must pay Skilled Workers at least a general salary threshold or the going rate for the individual occupation, whichever is higher. The general salary threshold has been raised from £26,200 (based on 25th percentile UK earnings in eligible occupations) to £38,700 (based on median UK earnings in eligible occupations). Going rates have also been raised from the 25th percentile to the median.

Workers sponsored for Health and Care visas, or in occupations where going rates are set using national pay scales, are exempt from the new median salary requirements.

Instead, a general threshold based on the 25th percentile continues to apply, and has been updated from £26,200 to £29,000, based on the latest ONS pay data. Going rates have also been updated based on the latest ONS pay data and/or the latest available national pay scales. These updates also apply to Skilled Workers who are already in the route before changes took effect, if they are making applications to extend their stay, change employment or settle before 4 April 2030.

Additional Health and Care clarifications have been made to bring the existing criteria for this visa offer (originally launched on 4 August 2020) within the Immigration Rules. The criteria themselves are unchanged (other than updates to reflect SOC 2020 – see below). This addition to the Rules is necessary because the salary changes above mean that eligibility for the Health and Care Visa now goes beyond the previous service offer and reduced costs, and materially affects the outcome of an application.

The Shortage Occupation List has been removed and replaced by a new Immigration Salary List, to make clearer that the entries on the list are those where the Government considers it sensible to offer a discounted salary threshold, rather than being a list of all occupations experiencing labour shortages. The contents of the new list have been informed by a review carried out by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The MAC will carry out a full review of the list later in 2024. As with the previous list, included occupations have a 20% discount to the general salary threshold (to £30,960 or £23,200, depending on whether they would otherwise be subject to the £38,700 or £29,000 threshold); however, the previous 20% discount to the going rate requirement is being removed.

All other existing Skilled Worker salary discounts, relating to holders of relevant PhD qualifications, “new entrants” to the labour market, and national pay scale occupations, have been retained and updated, based on the latest ONS pay data.

Consequential changes to other work routes

The salary requirements for other work routes are being updated in line with the changes to the latest ONS pay data:

• For Senior or Specialist Workers in the Global Business Mobility routes, the general salary threshold is being updated from £45,800 to £48,500, and going rates are being updated using the latest ONS pay data.

• For Graduate Trainees in the Global Business Mobility routes, the general salary threshold is being updated from £24,220 to £25,410, and going rates remain based on 70% of the 25th percentile, updated to the latest ONS pay data.

• For the Scale-up route, the general salary threshold is being updated from £34,600 to £36,300, and going rates are being updated using the latest ONS pay data.

• For certain poultry workers in the Seasonal Workers route, who must be paid in line with Skilled Workers, the salary requirement is being raised from £26,200 and £10.75 per hour to £38,700 and £15.88 per hour.

Supplementary employment has been broadened to encompass all occupations eligible for the route. 

Salary threshold changes to the Seasonal Worker route

The National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage are increasing from April 2024. In line with this, the minimum rate of hourly pay for Seasonal Workers has been updated to reflect this change.

For assistance with your Skilled worker or other work application, contact us.