26 March 2024

New changes impacting skilled workers and employers

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As we are aware significant changes are coming into force on 04 April 2024 impacting Skilled Workers and employers.

The changes to the Skilled Worker route coming into effect from 04 April 2024 are summarised below.

Skilled Workers (non-health care):

  • The Skilled Worker minimum salary thresholds are increasing as follows:

o    Option A (most applications): from £26,200 to £38,700. Option B (relevant PhD): from £23,800 to £34,830. Option C (relevant STEM PhD): from £20,960 to £30,960. Option D (shortage occupation/Immigration Salary List): from £20,960 to £30,960.

o    Option E (new entrants): from £20,960 to £30,960.

  • The Going Rates for individual SOC codes will be increasing.
  • The 20% discount to the going rate for shortage occupations (Option D) will be removed. The 10% discount for relevant PhDs (Option B), the 20% discount for STEM PhDs (Option C) and the 30% discount for new entrants (Option E) will be retained.
  • The current Shortage Occupation List under Option D will be replaced with an Immigration Salary List, which contains fewer eligible SOC codes.
  • Currently, Skilled Workers can only undertake supplementary work up to 20 hours a week in the same profession and professional level as their sponsored work, unless that additional work is in a shortage occupation.  From 4 April, Skilled Workers will be able to undertake supplementary work in any role that would meet the skill level for sponsorship.

Skilled Workers (health care):

The adjusted general thresholds that will apply to Health and Care visas from 4 April 2024 are:

  • Option F (most applications): from £26,200 to £29,000. 
  • Option G (relevant PhD): from £23,800 to £26,100.
  • Option H (relevant STEM PhD): from £20,960 to £23,200.
  • Option I (shortage occupation/Immigration Salary List): from £20,960 to £23,200.
  • Option J (new entrants): from £20,960 to £23,200.
  • Where an individual is applying to work in a role that is subject to a national pay scale, the minimum salary threshold will be £23,200 (Option K) but they must also be paid at least the appropriate rate set by the national pay scale for that role or salary band.  The eligible roles include nursing professionals.

Assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship before 4 April 2024:

  • If an applicant has been assigned a CoS before 4 April 2024 and it has not expired when they submit their application, the application will be decided in line with the rules in force before 4 April 2024. CoS are usually valid for 3 months.
  • Out-of-country hires: Any Defined CoS allocation which is not assigned by 4 April 2024, will be cancelled and a new request must be made visa the Sponsor Management System in accordance with the new salary threshold.
  • In-country hires: Any unused undefined CoS allocation on 04 April 2024 will remain available until expiry to use but when assigning, the new rules from 04 April 2024 must be followed.

Skilled Workers (non-healthcare) sponsored before 04 April 2024:

  • The salary threshold in place before 04 April 2024 will apply to extension or change of employment applications.
  • If the job a worker is sponsored for is recategorized to fall under the new ‘Table 2a’ they can only apply for an extension to continue working for the same employer. It is not possible to apply to change employers if the job is under Table 2a.
  • Those who were sponsored under the Shortage Occupation before 04 April 2024, can apply to extend their permission in the same role and with their current employer and still benefit from the 20% discount to the going rate. Otherwise, the higher salary threshold effective from 04 April 2024 will apply.

Sponsor Management System closure on 7:00 pm 02 April 2024:

  • The SMS will be shut from 07:00 pm, 02 April 2024. This means in practice; (a) employers lose two days and the real deadline is 02 April 2024, and (b) it may even be difficult to SMS during the later hours of 02 April 2024.

Next steps:

Any sponsor wishing to assign a CoS by 07:00 pm, 02 April 2024 considers the above timelines and acts expeditiously to benefit from the current lower salary thresholder.

Unfortunately, for any candidate who cannot be assigned a CoS by 07:00 pm, 02 April 2024, the question of whether they can be sponsored using the higher salary threshold from 04 April 2024 should be considered.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss that may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

About the Author

Mahnoor has extensive experience in dealing with various types of in-country and out-of-country immigration matters. This includes advising and assisting clients on a vast spectrum of immigration applications, ranging from Entry Clearance to British citizenship.

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