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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about changes to the UK Immigration Rules (Effective from 4th April 2024)

1. What is the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas, and how is it changing?

  • Current Threshold: The minimum salary threshold for a Skilled Worker visa application is currently £26,200.

  • New Threshold: From 4th April 2024, the minimum salary threshold will rise significantly to the higher of £38,700 or the going rate for that type of role. The roles will be based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2020, replacing SOC 2010.

  • Transitional Salaries: Individuals who already hold a Skilled Worker visa and apply to extend their permission or change employers in the UK will have transitional salaries. For them, the minimum salary threshold will be the higher of £29,000 (up from £26,200) or the going rate for their role based on the 25th percentile of the 2023 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data. In most cases, this amounts to a 10-20% increase in the minimum salary threshold. Examples:

    • Chief executives and senior officials: Pre-4th April 2024: £59,300, Post-4th April 2024: £84,100; Transitional: £54,700.

    • IT business analysts: Pre-4th April 2024: £30,080, Post-4th April 2024: £51,700; Transitional: £39,300.

    • Sales administrators: Pre-4th April 2024: £26,200, Post-4th April 2024: £38,700; Transitional: £29,000.

2. What is the salary threshold for the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker visa?

  • The salary threshold for the intra-company transfer under the Global Business Mobility route will increase from £45,800 to £48,500 starting from 4th April 2024. If the updated occupation code going rate salary is higher, that rate will apply.

3. What changes are specific to Health and Care Workers?

  • Dependents Excluded: Newly arriving social care workers are no longer allowed to bring their dependents (partners and children) on their visa.

  • Immediate Family Ban: This restriction has been in place since 11th March 2024.

4. What is the Immigration Salary List (ISL) and how does it replace the Shortage Occupation List (SOL)?

  • The ISL replaces the SOL as a reference for salary thresholds. It sets occupation-specific thresholds based on the 25th percentile (for Health & Care Worker occupations) or the 50th percentile (for non-H&CW occupations) of full-time salaries. For occupations on the ISL, the threshold is either £30,960 or their occupation-specific threshold, whichever is higher.

5. Are there any exemptions for Health and Care Workers (H&CW) under the new rules?

  • Yes, H&CW visa holders have an exemption recognising their public value. The general threshold for H&CW visas remains at £29,000 (25th percentile of salaries). Occupation-specific thresholds are set at the 25th percentile or the national pay scale where applicable. For occupations on the ISL, the threshold is either £23,200 or their occupation-specific threshold, whichever is higher.

6. How does the ISL affect the overall number of eligible job roles for the Skilled Worker route?

  • Previously, approximately 30% of job roles eligible for the Skilled Worker route were on the SOL. With the ISL, 21 occupations were included, representing 8% of eligible job roles by employment. This is an interim measure ahead of a full review of the ISL later in the year.

7. What other changes are happening on 4th April 2024?

  • Interim Immigration Salary List: The Shortage Occupation List will be replaced by an interim Immigration Salary List on 4th April 2024. This list will be reviewed later.

  • Spouse/Partner Visa Income Requirement: The minimum income required to sponsor someone for a spouse/partner visa will first increase to £29,000 on 11th April 2024, then to around £34,500 later in 2024, and finally to around £38,700 by early 2025.

  • Review of Graduate Visa: A review of the Graduate Visa, a two-year unsponsored work permit for overseas graduates of British universities, is underway, with a report due by 14th May 2024.

8. Why will the SMS be unavailable from 2nd to 4th April 2024?

  • The SMS will be offline during this period to implement changes related to the new Immigration Rules, which are set to take effect on 4th April 2024. Sponsor’s who wish to take advantage of the current rules must assign Certificates of Sponsorships to their workers before 7.00pm on 02 April 2024

9. What significant changes are being implemented?

The updates include:

  • Replacing the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2010 system with the SOC 2020 system for Appendix Skilled Occupations.

  • Increasing salary thresholds for Skilled Workers, Global Business Mobility Workers, Scale-up Workers, and Seasonal Workers.

  • Replacing the Shortage Occupation List with the Immigration Salary List.

10. How will these changes impact CoS applications/requests?

  • Any CoS assigned on or after 4th April 2024 will be subject to the revised rules. Employers must ensure their CoS allocations align with the new SOC codes and salary thresholds on or after this date.

11. What happens to existing applications and CoS?

  • Unassigned CoS will be cancelled after 4th April 2024. New CoS applications must be made based on SOC 2020 codes and revised salary thresholds after 9.00 am on 4th April 2024.

  • DCoS with SOC 2010 codes must be assigned before 7 pm on 2nd April 2024 to avoid cancellation.

  • UCoS in progress must be updated with relevant SOC 2020 codes and salary thresholds for assignment.

12. Will existing assigned CoS remain valid?

  • Yes, DCoS or UCoS assigned before 7 pm on 2nd April 2024 will remain valid for the usual 3-month period.

For further support, consult with our immigration expert today to understand how these changes affect your business.

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