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Changes to the UK Skilled Worker Visa in 2024

The Skilled Worker visa is a visa program in the UK designed for individuals from outside the UK who possess skills needed to fill eligible job positions. It essentially allows them to live and work in the UK for a set period.

The UK government implemented significant changes to the Skilled Worker visa program in April 2024. These modifications directly impact international recruitment efforts for businesses seeking skilled workers from abroad. Let’s delve into the specifics of these updates and explore their implications for international recruitment in the UK.


Key Changes to the Skilled Worker Visa


Increased Minimum Salary Threshold

The most prominent change is the rise in the minimum salary requirement. Previously, applicants could qualify based on the 25th percentile of their job category’s salary range. Now, the threshold is set at the higher of £38,700 per year or the going rate for the specific occupation according to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2020.


New Salary Reference Point

The salary data used for determining the going rate has also shifted. Previously, it was based on the 25th percentile of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data from 2021. Now, the median (50th percentile) of the 2023 ASHE data is used, potentially impacting some roles.


Shortage Occupation List Replaced

The Shortage Occupation List, which offered lower salary requirements for certain in-demand professions, has been replaced with an interim Immigration Salary List. This list is subject to further review later in 2024.


Impact on International Recruitment

These changes pose both challenges and opportunities for international recruitment in the UK:


Challenges:

Companies seeking to recruit talent from overseas may face a smaller pool of eligible candidates due to the higher salary threshold. This could be particularly true for roles previously listed on the Shortage Occupation List with lower salary requirements.


Opportunities

Businesses offering competitive salaries that meet or exceed the new minimum will likely find themselves in a stronger position to attract skilled workers. Additionally, the focus on the going rate for specific occupations could provide more flexibility for highly specialized roles.


Navigating the New Landscape

Here’s how international recruitment agencies and businesses can adapt to the updated Skilled Worker visa landscape:
• Review Salary Structures: Carefully assess current salary structures and adjust them if necessary to meet the new minimums or attract top talent.
• Explore Sponsorship Options: Businesses can explore becoming a licensed sponsor for Skilled Worker visas,streamlining the application process for recruited talent.
• Seek Expert Guidance: Consider collaborating with immigration specialists to ensure a smooth and efficient Skilled Worker visa application process for international recruits.

The recent changes to the UK Skilled Worker visa program require international recruiters and businesses to adjust their strategies. By understanding the new requirements, offering competitive salaries, and potentially becoming a sponsor, companies can continue to attract and retain skilled workers from around the world. This will be crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the global marketplace.


For further information and the latest official guidance, you can refer to the UK government website HERE

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