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Changes to Immigration Rules for Skilled Worker Visas

4 April 2024 sees the minimum salary threshold rise to £38,700 per annum for Skilled Worker Visa applications. We look at what the new rules mean.

Form filling, signifying changes in worker immigration rules

Thursday 4 April 2024 sees significant changes to the Immigration Rules affecting the Skilled Worker visa route. The minimum salary threshold will rise from £26,200 to £38,700 per annum, and individual occupation ‘going rate’ thresholds will align with the median full-time wage for equivalent jobs in 2023. These updates aim to ensure that the UK labour market remains competitive and attracts highly skilled workers.

Raising the minimum salary threshold of the skilled worker by nearly 50% is designed to curb what the government maintains is an ongoing immigration issue – pushing the UK to be less reliant on migration for those levels of  jobs – whilst the proposed  procedural changes are designed both to make it easier in practice and to try to encourage recruitment of more skilled workers where there is still a clear shortfall.

Importantly, individuals already on the Skilled Worker visa route (before the Immigration Rules change) will not be subject to the new threshold when they change employment, extend their stay, or settle in the UK. The Home Office expects their pay to progress at the same rate as resident workers when they next make an application to change employment, extend their stay, or settle.

Notably, those coming on the Health and Care Visa route will be exempt from the £38,700 salary threshold applicable to Skilled Workers, as too will education workers in national pay-scale occupations.

The Home Office also announced an upcoming change to Sponsor Licence requirements, effective from Saturday 6 April 2024. The current obligation for businesses to renew their Sponsor Licences every four years will be removed, streamlining the process for employers looking to continue hiring skilled workers from outside the UK.

As a result of this change, Sponsor Licence holders will no longer need to make a renewal application or pay associated fees. Instead, the expiry date of all sponsor licences will be automatically extended to 10 years from the date of issuance. This applies to all sponsor licences that are due to expire on or after 6 April 2024, including those obtained prior to this date. The extension will be automatic, and no action will be required from Sponsors to benefit from this update.

Sounds confusing? It can be to the uninitiated! As employment law specialists, we can advise on and process Skilled Worker visa applications and Sponsorship licences for your business.

Our expert team can guide you through the intricacies of sponsorship and the employment visa process. Contact us on 020 8944 5290.

This article was written by Omar Qassim

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only and reflection the position at time of posting. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

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