UK Skilled Worker Visa: Huge Salary Hike on April 4th

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By Sanwar Ali:

Designer and author of the first ever AI sponsor licence system found as a GPT in ChatGPT4 under " Sponsor Licence". There is currently a more advanced system under development. 

In-Depth Report on the UK Skilled Worker Visa Salary Threshold Increase Effective 4 April 2024


The UK government has announced a significant increase to the Skilled Worker visa salary thresholds, coming into effect on 4 April 2024. This change has important implications for UK employers holding a sponsor licence, as it represents a significant shift for those considering applying for this visa category. It is crucial to note that Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to sponsor migrant workers must be assigned by 7pm on 2 April 2024, to fall under the current threshold.

Detailed Breakdown of Salary Threshold Increases

General Salary Threshold Increase

The general minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa has increased from £26,200 to £38,700 annually. There are exemptions in certain circumstances such as for Health and Care workers. This substantial increase will affect a wide range of job categories and is likely to impact sectors that rely on skilled overseas workers.

Sector-Specific “Going Rate” Increases

The changes also include specific increases to the “going rate” for certain job roles. These rates, set by the government, may be higher than the £38,700 minimum for particular professions, requiring a thorough review of the going rate salary lists for each occupation.

Strategic Implications for Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Utilization

Assign CoS by 7pm on 2 April 2024

Certificates of Sponsorship assigned by 7pm on 2 April, 2024, will be evaluated under the current salary thresholds, providing an opportunity for applicants and employers before the increases take effect.

CoS Assignment Window

The ability to assign a CoS up to three months before a visa application remains, which may help employers and visa applicants.

Targeted Exemptions and Reduced Salary Thresholds

Health and Care Worker Threshold Increases

For health and care visa roles, the salary threshold will increase by the lower amount of £29,000 per year, reflecting the essential need for these professionals in the UK. Moreover, for certain occupations within the health and care sector, there is a provision for a lower salary threshold of either £23,200 or their occupation-specific threshold, whichever is higher.

New Entrants

The policy continues to support new entrants to the UK job market, such as recent graduates or those transitioning from a Graduate visa, who may be eligible for lower salary thresholds.

PhD Holder Benefits

Applicants with a relevant Ph.D. come under lower salary requirements, in an effort to attract highly qualified individuals to the UK workforce.

Transitional Measures for Existing Visa Holders

Visa Extensions and Employer Changes

For current visa holders looking to extend their stay or change employers, the £29,000 threshold may apply, depending on the going rate for their occupation.

Employer Compliance and Oversight

Increased Responsibilities for Sponsor Licence Holders

The salary threshold increases may lead to greater scrutiny of UK employers holding a sponsor licence to make sure they comply with the new salary requirements. 

Non-Compliance Repercussions for Sponsor Licence Holders

Employers failing to meet the new salary thresholds could face severe consequences, including fines, suspension, or revocation of their sponsor licence. It is imperative for sponsor licence holders to understand and implement the changes to avoid such repercussions.

Recent Updates

Salary Thresholds Based on New SOC and ASHE Data

From 4 April 2024, the minimum salary threshold for a Skilled Worker visa application will rise to the higher of £38,700 or the going rate for the role as outlined in the updated SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) 2020. This replaces the previous SOC 2010, affecting the occupation code number for some roles.

Changes to Salary Data Reference Points

The reference data for setting these salaries will shift from the 25th percentile of the 2021 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data to the median (50th percentile) of the 2023 ASHE data. Consequently, the minimum salary threshold for some roles will significantly exceed £38,700.

Transitional Salary Requirements for Existing Visa Holders

Transitional salaries will apply to individuals who already hold a Skilled Worker visa and are applying to extend their permission or to change employers in the UK. The minimum salary for these individuals 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 ASHE data.

Application Window for Transitional Provisions

These transitional provisions will be available for applications made by individuals who were granted their Skilled Worker visa before 4 April 2024, and who apply before 4 April 2030.

How Can Help with sponsor Licences

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and applying for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, HR responsibilities, etc can help.

For more information and advice, please contact us at 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)