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New UK Skilled Worker Visa Updates You Should Not Ignore

In this blog, we will have an in-depth discussion about the changes announced for the UK Skilled Worker visa route on 9 March 2023.

Minimum Salary Thresholds         

Sponsor license holders should acknowledge the changes to the Skilled Worker visa route announced on 9 March 2023 that will soon be implemented. The Home Office has decided to increase the Skilled Worker visa salary threshold from 12 April 2023 because of the increased National Living Wage.

The minimum hourly rate will increase from £10.10 per hour to £10.75 per hour. On the other hand, the minimum gross annual salary thresholds for the majority of applications will rise by £600, increasing from £25,600 to £26,200.

What’s important to note here is that these changes will ultimately impact various sponsored roles across different industries, such as hospitality, in which salaries are often close to the minimum threshold.

In addition to this, the discounted minimum gross annual salary for professions that require eligible PhD-qualified individuals will increase from £23,040 to £23,580.

Furthermore, the discounted minimum gross annual salary for several STEM roles, healthcare jobs, roles in the shortage occupation list, and new entrants will increase from £20,480 to £20,960.

Updated Going Rates

In other news, going rates for individual occupations have also been updated. You may find information related to these changes on page 39 of the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules issued on 9 March 2023. Moving on, it should be noted that now going rates will be calculated according to a 37.5-hour work week instead of 39. This change especially concerns workers hired on a contract basis for longer weekly working hours since proposed salaries will have to be pro-rated to figure out their eligibility for sponsorship.

When Will The Changes Become Effective?

You should know that the going rate and salary updates discussed earlier will only apply to visa applicants who submitted their applications using a certificate of sponsorship issued on or after 12 April 2023. This means applications submitted using a sponsorship certificate issued before 12 March 2023 will still follow the previous Immigration Rules.

How does this affect Existing Sponsored Workers?

Employers of currently sponsored workers should relax, knowing that no immediate action is required from an immigration perspective to adhere to the newly announced changes. However, employers will have to ensure that workers’ salaries are in accordance with the new thresholds when the time comes for visa extension and settlement.

Salary Calculation For Irregular Working Patterns

The Home Office has provided rules for calculating salaries for jobs with irregular working patterns changing on a weekly basis and leading to unfair compensation. Let’s talk about them;

  • Work that exceeds 48 hours in some weeks can be counted in the salary thresholds if the average in the regular cycle is limited to 48 hours or less. Please note that a regular cycle cannot be more than 17 weeks.
  • All unpaid rest weeks will be considered in the average while concluding if the salary thresholds are fulfilled.
  • Unpaid rest weeks will not be considered absences from work.

For instance, an applicant who works for 60 hours a week for two weeks at £12 per hour and goes for an unpaid rest week, will be considered to have worked 40 hours a week on average. As a result, the applicant will have an annual salary of £24,960.

We hope you found this information helpful. Follow our blogs for the latest updates and informative content on UK immigration.

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