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UK Immigration Rule Changes April '24

Keeping up with immigration rule changes and Home Office guidance post-Brexit is challenging. If you don't you risk large fines, loss of workers, potential imprisonment and reputational risk. Simon Kenny, one of our specialist immigration trainers takes a brief look at the next 12 months and highlights how organisations should prepare for the upcoming changes.    

Certificate of Sponsorship Changes from April '24

The changes relate to qualification for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) of people within the skilled worker and immigration category and the global business mobility senior or specialist worker immigration category. 

A skilled worker role needs to pay at least: 

  •   A “General Threshold” salary of £38,700 per year for a Skilled  Worker or £48,500 for a Senior or Specialist Worker (Global   Business Mobility);  and
  •  The “going rate” specified for the job in Appendix Skilled Occupations of the Immigration Rules

The “going rate” salary is based, in most cases, on 37.5 hours’ work per week and can be pro-rated, but the core salary can not. 

The core salary can be lower than £38,700 for Skilled Workers in some specific instances, notably for new entrants to the role and for Health and Care Workers.

The salary required is lower for individuals who:

  • Were sponsored prior to 4th April 2024;
  • Have PhDs which are relevant to their role (with a higher discount available for those with a PhD in a STEM subject);
  • Have an occupation listed on the Immigration Salary List;
  • Can be considered as “new entrants” to the role;
  • Are being sponsored as Health and Care Workers;
  • Work in other occupations listed as being subject to national payscales.

Other relevant changes to Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) 

  • Senior or Specialist Workers in the Global Business Mobility routes need to be paid £48,500. 
  • Going rates were raised from the 25th percentile to the median and based on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) pay data – it means some of the required salaries are now effectively 50% higher 
  • The Immigration Salary List replaced the Shortage Occupation List with fewer occupations 

In practice the calculation of whether an employee qualifies for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is now more complicated than previously and around 15% of individuals issued these in 2023 would not qualify now. 

Suggested actions for employers who sponsor Non-UK Nationals

  1. Review whom the organisation sponsors and whether that would be possible in future roles.

     - Prioritise that in respect of those with Student or Graduate Route visas, plus potential Graduate trainees

     2. Refine the process to issue Certificates of Sponsorship to ensure an assessment of qualification is made early

     - This can be complicated and developing a programmed spreadsheet which advises if candidates qualify or not is good       idea. 

  1. Assess how to communicate this to colleagues, particularly currently sponsored workers who may be alarmed by this.

Immigration Training Courses - keeping employers abreast of the Home Office updates when they happen

Our suite of comprehensive and up-to-date training delivers legal and practical insights, ensuring employers stay compliant while optimising their workforce strategies.

Led by seasoned professionals, our courses evolve with the dynamic legal landscape, equipping clients with the latest knowledge and tools. Attendees leave equipped with the necessary skills to check RTW documents, visas, processes and data handling to implement compliant overseas recruitment strategies.