UK Tier 2 visa £30,000 salary threshold could be scrapped

Sanwar Ali comment:

The salary threshold of £30,000 per annum mentioned in the media for Tier 2 visa applicants sponsored by an employer with a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, is actually oversimplifying the situation.  There are a number of situations where lower and perhaps higher salaries apply.   Tier 4 visa students of any age who have completed a degree or will be completing a degree in the UK within three months, can be paid at a lower new entrant rate from £20,800 per annum.   Those who are under 26 years of age can also be paid the lower new entrant rate.  You also need to look at the Codes of Practice for Skilled workers for the exact amount that needs to be paid.   

£30,000 per annum is actually the experienced worker rate that needs to be paid in many situations where the Tier 2 visa applicant is 26 years of age or older.   Again, you also need to look at the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers which may actually show that a higher rate will need to be paid.  If the salary threshold is actually reduced under the Boris Johnson Government this may be a good thing.  It should help with skills shortages after the Brexit transitional period ends.

The UK, Tier 2 visa £30,000 minimum salary threshold, which is currently applicable to many skilled foreign workers from outside the EU, could be scrapped as part of Boris Johnson’s new, post-Brexit UK immigration system. Johnson’s government plans to implement an Australian-style, points-based system by the end of 2020.

According to a report published by The Times newspaper, Johnson plans to abolish the Tier 2 visa salary threshold introduced by former Prime Minister Theresa May, during her time as Home Secretary.

Under existing rules, skilled non-EU workers looking to enter the UK must earn a minimum of £30,000 to qualify for a Tier 2 visa, while recent university graduates are required to earn at least £20,800.

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) review of Tier 2 visa scheme

In 2019, the UK government instructed the Migration Advisory Committee to review the salary threshold amid fears within the Cabinet that the £30,000 minimum earnings limit could deter skilled workers from applying for job roles in crucial sectors of the UK economy.

It’s unclear whether the £30,000 Tier 2 visa salary threshold will be scrapped entirely, increased or lowered as part of a new immigration setup based on the system in Australia, which is likely to factor in a migrant’s earnings, English language skills, job role and qualifications, when processing UK visa applications.

Plans to ditch the salary threshold could be met with opposition from some Tory MPs. Former Conservative Party leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, has already warned ministers to take a cautious approach towards scrapping the £30,000 threshold.

Smith said: “They will need to have very strong checks in place to ensure that they deliver on their pledge to control immigration.”

Australian-style UK immigration system

The government initially announced that it would roll out its new, Australian-style immigration system in 2021. However, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has urged her fellow Tory Party ministers to implement the new system by December 2020.

Following a recent Cabinet meeting, Boris Johnson’s official spokesman was asked whether the salary threshold had been discussed, to which he replied: “It wasn’t. That is something we asked the MAC to do a separate piece of work on and I would expect that to be published shortly as well.”

“I think it is worth pointing out that that obviously reflects the immigration system set out by the former government. The Prime Minister is looking at an Australian-style points-based system which is something slightly different,” the spokesman said.

The MAC, a so-called independent body that advises the government on UK immigration matters, is expected to report on how an Australian-style system would work in the UK.

Meanwhile, the government is set to produce an immigration white paper in March, outlining details of the new immigration system.

Tier 2 visa Salary threshold unpopular

The Tier 2 visa salary threshold has been extremely unpopular with UK employers, with businesses in many regions struggling to recruit crucial staff because they could not offer skilled workers the required £30,000 salary.

In July 2019, research conducted by a group of business and education bodies revealed that nearly two-thirds of all UK salaries fell below the £30,000 threshold.

Numerous ideas have been proposed to ease the impact of the salary threshold. During his time as Home Secretary, now Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid suggested regional salary thresholds, with different minimum requirements applicable to different regions across the UK, with thresholds set in accordance with the average salary for each region.

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If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, workpermit.com can help.

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