The Immigration Salary List will Replace the Shortage Occupation List banner


The Immigration Salary List will Replace the Shortage Occupation List

  • Posted on

One thing that sponsor licence holders and Immigration Solicitors need to get ready for in 2024 is changes to the shortage occupation list.

In this article, our Immigration Solicitors look at the planned changes and explain how Sponsorship Licence lawyers can help your business navigate all the planned business immigration and Work Visa changes.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For sponsor licence and immigration advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Why is the shortage occupation list being replaced?

The government has announced its plans to overhaul how the shortage occupation list works as part of its drive to reduce net migration to the UK. Although there is massive amounts of publicity about small boats crossing the channel and asylum claims the reality is that the vast proportion of those from overseas in the UK are in the country legally on Home Office approved Family Visas or Work Visas.

The rationale behind reviewing the shortage occupation list is the government's view that UK businesses have become over-reliant on overseas workers coming to the UK on Skilled Worker Visas and Health and Care Worker Visas and the use of the shortage occupation list to achieve salary savings on overseas migrant labour.

From the point of view of sponsors, they would say they have been guided by Sponsorship Licence lawyers and adapted to the post-Brexit points-based immigration system, lack of available EU workers because of the ending of free movement of EU nationals and the government's decision not to provide a Work Visa route for lower-skilled workers.

Sponsors and their Sponsorship Licence lawyers may have adapted too well to the points-based immigration system and hence the government's decision to change the immigration rules or, in the view of some sponsoring employers to ‘change the goal posts.’

Sponsorship Licence lawyers have sympathy for business owners who have invested time and money in adapting to Brexit only to face additional immigration rule and Work Visa changes in 2024 and 2025.

The timescale to change the shortage occupation list 

The Home Office is asking the Migration Advisory Committee to review the shortage occupation list. That review will commence shortly and may take the majority of 2024 to complete.

The shortage occupation list will be initially revised in Spring 2024 when the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker Visa applicants will increase.

A new name for the shortage occupation list

The shortage occupation list will be renamed to the ‘immigration salary list’. Sponsor licence holders may ask what difference a name makes. It is a good point to make as the Home Office has a history of relabelling visas without making massive changes. However, the government has already said that with the name change, there will be an overhaul of what jobs stay on the list because of the new salary thresholds.

Review of the Graduate Visa

As well as overseeing the renaming and restructuring of the shortage occupation list the Migration Advisory Committee is also tasked with reviewing the Graduate Visa.

To some Immigration Solicitors, the Graduate Visa has always been a bit of an oddity in the post-Brexit world. That is because although the government has refused to bow to business pressure to introduce a Work Visa for the lower skilled the Graduate Visa allows international students with degrees to apply for a Graduate Visa that, unlike the Skilled Worker Visa, does not require them to have:

  • A job offer
  • A sponsoring employer
  • A job at a minimum skill level when the graduate does find UK employment
  • A job that pays the same or similar minimum salary threshold as the Skilled Worker Visa – any salary for a worker on the Graduate Visa is fine provided the employer pays the national minimum wage

Why recently introduce the Graduate Visa only to ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review it? The government introduced the Graduate Visa to attract international students to study in the UK on Student Visas. Overseas students are a massive boost to the UK economy. To compete in the global market for international students the UK felt it had to offer an attractive package, including the potential to stay in the UK after UK studies with the flexibility of the Graduate Visa.

Times and priorities change. Stopping international students bring dependants with them on Dependant Visas is one way to make the UK less attractive to international students with families. The second is amending the Graduate Visa. These 2 measures should have the effect of reducing the UK’s net migration figures. The losers will be universities and higher education institutes and, of course, British students whose course fees are in part subsidised by the amounts paid by international students.

The job of the Migration Advisory Committee in reviewing the Graduate visa route will be a difficult one as the way the visa route currently operates works for both universities and UK employers but it flies in the face of the government‘s commitment to reduce net migration and to increase the minimum salary threshold for the Skilled Worker Visa.

Changes to the minimum salary threshold

The government has announced that in April  2024 it will increase the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker Visa applicants from a minimum of £26,200 to £38,700. The ‘going rate’ thresholds will also be increased in accordance with the median full-time wage for equivalent jobs in 2023. Health and Care Worker Visa applicants and those applying for Skilled Worker Visas with a job on a national pay scale will be exempt from the increased minimum salary threshold.

The minimum salary threshold increases combined with changes to the shortage occupation list are intended to reduce reliance on overseas workers but Sponsorship Licence lawyers understand sponsoring employers' concerns that the planned deterrent will not work for sponsoring employers unless there are viable recruitment options from within the UK. They doubt that the UK skills shortage is capable of resolution within 6 to 12 months.

How OTS Solicitors can help with all your UK immigration law needs

The Migration Advisory Committee reviews and the forthcoming immigration rule changes signal a turbulent year for UK immigration in 2024. Whenever changes are being made and there is uncertainty it is best to have proactive lawyers on your side to guide you and your business through the transitional period and to help you come up with solutions that work for your business.

Our Business Immigration Solicitors can help you with all your sponsor licence and immigration law needs from sponsor licence applications to sponsor licence management services together with specialist advice on sponsor licence compliance and Work Visas.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For sponsor licence and immigration advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Related Posts

UK Immigration News: the Immigration Health Surcharge to Increase on 6 February 2024

Why Sponsor Licence Compliance Matters

OTS Solicitors Celebrates its Inclusion in the 2024 Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession

How Much Does it Cost a UK Sponsor to Hire a Skilled Worker From Overseas?

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.