Onmanorama Explains | UK has proposed to tighten migration rules. Here are the changes

Representational image
Representational image: iStock

Call it protectionism or a planned move to restrict immigration, the UK government's decision to raise the salary threshold for work visa has made the world sit up and take a note.

As per the decision announce late Monday, prospective employees will need a job offer with a yearly salary of at least 38,700 pounds to get a skilled work visa from March 2024. This is nearly a 50 per cent rise from the existing minimum salary threshold of 26,200 pounds.

While decision may affect some aspirants plans, industry experts point out that there are many sectors have been given exemptions and the rule change wold not impact professionals like doctors, engineers etc.

The exemptions
Healthcare is one the largest sectors that employs many expat Indians. The new rule will not affect the health and care workers as they have been exempted from the increase in salary threshold for 'skilled worker' visas, according to the UK government's official website www.gov.uk.

This means qualified and experienced nurses can apply for jobs in the UK and the country can continue to bring in healthcare workers to compensate for the care sector and NHS needs.

In addition, care providers in England will now only be able to sponsor migrant workers if they are undertaking activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

However, there is a caveat here. Unveiling the plans in the House of Commons, UK Home Secretary James Cleverly said medics on health and care visas will no longer be able to bring any family members with them. This change in rule could impact the number of people opting for the UK, a recruitment expert pointed out.

As in the health sector, similar exemptions are also applicable to those on national pay scales, for example, teachers. (The National Living Wage is essentially the minimum wage standard for UK workers. At present the NLW rate is 10.42 pounds per hour.)

Immigration salary list
Currently, a work visa is granted through a point-based system (PBS). An applicant must secure a total of 70 points, in which the initial 50 comes from having a job offer above a minimum skill level and proficiency in speaking English.

The remaining 20 points come from a combination of salary, working in a shortage occupation (health and education, care workers, graphic designers, construction workers and vets) or having a relevant PhD.

The UK government will end 20 per cent going rate salary discount for shortage occupations and replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List, which will retain a general threshold discount.

Also the government is raising the minimum income for those bringing family members to the UK on a family visa to 38,700 pounds. The minimum income currently required is  18,600 pounds.

Post-study work visa
Earlier the UK government had imposed restrictions on foreign postgraduate students in non-research courses from bringing family members.

From January 2024, the government will remove the right for international students to bring dependants unless they are on postgraduate courses designated as research programmes.

Manoj P, CEO of Global Education Consultants in Kochi dismissed that UK has brough in a large-scale changes. "The UK government has not brought any change to post-study work visa scheme. Students who get a job with an employer enlisted with the Home Affairs, and meet the salary limit are still allowed to secure skilled work visas. But unfortunately, a fair share of Indian students fail to achieve these conditions. They will have to return," he said.

He also added that UK degrees are still recognised in most English-speaking countries. So for those looking to settle in other foreign countries that will be an added advantage," he said.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa in the United Kingdom, one must:

  1. Work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  2. Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  3. Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  4. Be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do

Sectors that give more than threshold salary

  • IT & Software -£55,000 – £85,000
  • Marketing & Sales -£53,000 – £70,778
  • Engineering -£50,000 -69,000
  • Hospitality -£48,000 – £65,000
  • Accounting & Finance -£65,000 – £84,000
  • Human Resources -£55,000 – £75,000
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