HomeInsightsWith imminent sweeping changes to the Skilled Worker route, time is running out to take advantage of the existing rules

From 4 April 2024, eligibility for Skilled Worker visas will tighten considerably, with increased salary thresholds for specific occupations and a new minimum salary requirement of £38,700. This will disqualify many potential applicants previously considered eligible.

Employers must act swiftly to review the status of their current and incoming workforce. If employees are looking to extend or switch into the route or new hires are due to be sponsored, it is crucial that this is done promptly to avoid recruitment and retention plans being impacted.

Employers are likely aware that the general salary threshold for new Skilled Worker applicants will rise from £26,200 to £38,700. However, in many cases, applicants will actually be required to meet an even steeper threshold. The ‘going rate’ thresholds for each Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) code will rise from the 25th percentile to the 50th percentile of the salary range for each occupation. As a result, for some professions the salary figure that applicants will be required to reach will be even higher. For example, financial accounts managers falling under SOC code 3545 will now be required to earn at least £52,495. This crucial detail has been hidden in the fine print and is likely to impact a significant number of businesses across the country. The going rate will take precedence over the general salary threshold if it is higher.

It is still possible to sponsor a Skilled Worker under the existing rates. We expect updates to the immigration rules which will bring in the changes to be announced soon. An application under the existing rules may be possible right up to the day of the changes, however time is now running out to complete the necessary administrative procedures, such as acquiring a licence, or assigning a certificate of sponsorship. Employers are advised to review the position now.