Skilled Worker Minimum Salary 2024

recruitment

IN THIS SECTION

One of the more complex requirements for sponsoring individuals under the Skilled Worker visa is the minimum salary threshold.

There is no single, universal Skilled Worker minimum salary threshold. The relevant minimum salary level must be identified using the latest Home Office guidance and ensuring the correct minimum level is used for the specific role and applicant circumstances.

Any errors in applying the rules or in calculating the salary level can result in a refused visa application or even enforcement action against the sponsor for non-compliance with the sponsor guidance rules.

 

How much is the Minimum Skilled Worker Salary?

 

Appendix Skilled Worker sets out the Skilled Worker salary requirements, including the availability of lower salary thresholds, as follows:

 

Options A to E: general (salaries based on median earnings):

 

Option Description Salary Requirements Points
A

Salary only (no discounts)

The applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both:

  • £38,700 per year (general threshold)
  • The full going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  •  £15.88 per hour
20
B

Relevant PhD

(10% discount on general threshold and going rate)

The applicant has a PhD in a subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds all of the following:

  • £34,830 per year (general threshold)
  • 90% of the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £15.88 per hour
20
C

Relevant PhD in a

STEM subject (20% discount on general threshold and going rate)

The applicant has a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds all of the following:

  • £30,960 per year (general threshold)
  • 80% of the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £15.88 per hour
20
D

Job in Appendix Immigration Salary List (20% discount on general threshold only)

The applicant is being sponsored for a job on the Immigration Salary List and their salary equals or exceeds all of the following:

  • £30,960 per year (general threshold)
  • The going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £15.88 per hour
20
E

New entrant (20% discount on general threshold and 30% discount on going rate)

The applicant is a new entrant at the start of their career and their salary equals or exceeds all of the following:

  • £30,960 per year (general threshold)
  • 70% of the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £15.88 per hour
20

Options F to J: specified Health and Care occupations and transitional provision:

 

Option  

For Specified Health and Care Occupations and Transitional Provision. Description:

Salary Requirements Points
F

Salary only (no discounts)

 

The applicant’s salary equals or exceeds all of the following:

  • £29,000 per year (general threshold)
  • The full going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 2 or 2a of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £11.90 per hour
20
G

Relevant PhD (10% discount on general threshold and going rate)

 

The applicant has a PhD in a subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds all of:

  • £26,100 per year (general threshold)
  • 90% of the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 2 or 2a of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £11.90 per hour
20
H

Relevant PhD in a STEM subject (20% salary on general threshold and going rate)

 

The applicant has a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and their salary equals or exceeds all of:

  • £23,200 per year (general threshold)
  • 80% of the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 2 or 2a of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £11.90 per hour
20
I Job in Appendix Immigration Salary List (20% discount on general threshold only)

 

The applicant is being sponsored for a job on the Immigration Salary List and their salary equals or exceeds all of:

  • £23,200 per year (general threshold)
  • the full going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £11.90 per hour
20
J

New entrant (20% discount on general threshold and 30% discount on going rate)

 

The applicant is a new entrant at the start of their career and their salary equals or exceeds all of the following:

  • £23,200 per year (general threshold)
  • 70% of the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 2 or 2a of Appendix Skilled Occupations
  • £11.90 per hour
20
K

Eligible health or education occupation code

 

The applicant is being sponsored for a job in a listed health or education occupation and their salary equals or exceeds both:

  • £23,200 per year (general threshold); and
  • the going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 3, 4 or 5 of Appendix Skilled Occupations
20

 

In most cases, a sponsored worker’s salary must meet or exceed all of the relevant threshold, the full going rate for the occupation code as stated in the relevant Table of Appendix Skilled Occupations, and the relevant hourly rate. For most Skilled Worker applicants, Table 1 will apply, while Table 2 is for

The standard Skilled Worker Visa minimum salary is now £38,700, and £15.88 per hour, where no salary discounts are applicable. This threshold was increased for applications submitted on or after 4 April 2024. Previously, the minimum salary threshold was £26,200, which itself was an increase from £25,600 in March 2023.

This means that to be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa, most applicants will need to earn at least £38,700 per annum, equating to at least £15.88 per hour, and meeting or exceed the relevant going rate for their occupation code.

Note that Health and Care Worker applicants must meet a lower salary threshold of £29,000 per annum, and £11.90 per hour, and the full going rate for the occupation code as stated in Table 2 or 2a of Appendix Skilled Occupations, where no discounts apply.

If the worker benefits from ‘tradeable points’, they may be able to rely on a lower salary threshold. For example if they have a job offer for a role on the Immigration Salary List (previously known as the shortage occupation list) or they hold a relevant PhD qualification.

Salary thresholds are based on a 37.5-hour working week. Where alternative working patterns are in place, the salary level must be pro-rated based on the relevant weekly working hours.

 

 

Selecting the correct occupation code

 

To be eligible for the Skilled Worker route, the role must feature on the Government’s list of eligible occupations under the Immigration Rules. The list also specifies the ‘going rate’ for each role and minimum salary requirements for ‘new entrants’ and other workers.

If the occupation code sets out a higher going rate salary than the relevant absolute minimum threshold, this is the salary that must be paid.

When choosing an occupation code (SOC code), employers should use the CASCOT occupation coding tool to find the closest match to the job being offered and use the correct code relevant to the role. If the occupation code selected is not on the list, it is ineligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route. In April 2024, the Home Office moved to the Standard Occupational Classification 2020 coding system; employers are advised to check the new system codes on all applications to ensure compliance with the correct system.

You should also prepare for the Home Office to assess and verify the SOC provided by considering the job description of the role being recruited for.

Failure to enter the correct occupation code is likely to result in the worker’s visa being refused.

If a genuine error has been made in selecting an incorrect occupation code, it may be possible to remedy this. However, if the Home Office believe the incorrect code was originally selected to manufacture sponsorship, as the correct code would not have met the salary or skill level required for the role, then they have the power to suspend the employer’s sponsor licence whilst they investigate further.

The occupation codes list is also continually updated, so it is important to check that previously used codes are still eligible when sponsoring a new worker.

 

Who is considered a ‘New Entrant’?

 

Qualifying new entrants benefit from a reduction in the salary threshold to £30,960, and a lower salary threshold than ‘other workers’ in the same role. As such, anyone relying on the new entrant rate must be able to show that they meet the criteria, ie they are under 26 years of age at the time of making their visa application and they are either:

  • Sponsored in a postdoctoral research position, or
  • Working towards professional qualifications, chartered status, or registration.

 

New entrants are however limited to a three-year period of leave. After this period, they must make a further application if they wish to remain in the UK. If continuing under the Skilled Worker route, they would no longer be a ‘new entrant’.

 

When are salary points tradeable?

 

A reduction in the minimum salary level may also be available under the ‘tradeable points’ rules. Workers can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for the role, if the salary is at least £23,200 per year and meets one of the following criteria:

  • The role is in on the Immigration Salary List
  • The worker is a new entrant, ie under 26 years old, studying, a recent graduate, or in professional training
  • The worker has a technology, science, maths, or engineering (STEM) PhD level qualification that is relevant to the role
  • The worker has a postdoctoral position in higher education or science

 

Skilled Worker to ILR minimum salary

 

An individual who has held permission under the Skilled Worker visa route for five years can make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). In order to do this, they must meet a number of requirements, such as:

  • Meet the ILR minimum salary requirement or the going rate for their role, if greater.
  • Proof of identity – a valid passport, valid biometric residence permit, or biometric residence cards are all accepted by the Home Office as proof of identity. Applicants will also need to provide a digital facial photograph and their fingerprints if they do not already have a valid biometric residence card.
  • Proof of continuous residence in the UK – applicants will need to prove they have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for a least 6 months in a 12-month period for 5 consecutive years.
  • Declare any criminal convictions if the applicant is over the age of 18 – ‘spent convictions’, ‘cautions’, or fines do not need to be declared.

 

Need assistance?

 

We are specialists in UK business immigration, with substantial experience and recognised expertise in advising employers and workers on all aspects of hiring under the Skilled Worker visa and sponsoring skilled workers. For specialist immigration advice on Skilled Worker eligibility and the application process, including calculating salary and matching occupational codes, contact us.

 

Skilled Worker Visa Minimum Salary FAQs

 

What is the minimum salary for Skilled Worker visa?

Under the Skilled Worker visa, workers will be required to earn a minimum salary of £38,700 per year or the relevant going rate for their role - whichever is higher. A lower salary threshold may be available if certain criteria apply, such as the role being included on the Immigration Salary List or the worker being classed as a 'new entrant' or having a relevant PhD.

What are the requirements for Skilled Worker visa?

A worker must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa: the role is eligible for the visa; the worker will be paid the minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work the worker will be doing - whichever is the greater; the worker will work for a UK employer that is licensed to sponsor overseas workers.

How many hours can you work on a Skilled Worker visa?

Most salaries are based on a 39-hour week, although there are allowable exceptions within the occupation codes list. The hours worked become more important where the worker is going to be in receipt of the exact minimum salary for their role. Any worker paid the minimum salary but expected to work more than their contracted hours (usually 39 hours per week) is likely to be considered to be paid less than is allowed.

What is a job in a shortage occupation?

The Home Office operates the Immigration Salary List (formerly known as the Shortage Occupation List) which specifies certain roles deemed to short in the supply of workers in the domestic labour market. ISL roles benefit from a lower minimum salary threshold to make it easier for employers to hire from overseas for vacancies in such shortage roles.

Does a Skilled Worker visa lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (settlement)?

Yes, time spent in the UK under the skilled worker route can count towards the period of continuous residence for an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Last updated: 30 April 2024

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

Contact DavidsonMorris
Get in touch with DavidsonMorris for general enquiries, feedback and requests for information.
Sign up to our award winning newsletters!
Find us on: