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UNITED KINGDOM: Salary Rates For Tier 2 To Be Updated On April 6

On March 4, 2014, the Home Office announced that they intend to update on April 6, 2014, the salary rates in the codes of practice for skilled employees. At the same time, they will replace the following Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes with multiple options to correspond with the various job levels within those occupations, as set out in the codes of practice:

2123 Electrical engineers
2211 Medical practitioners
2213 Pharmacists
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified
2231 Nurses
2442 Social workers

From a practical perspective, the introduction of multiple options for the SOC codes listed above will not prevent Sponsors from assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) after April 6, based on Restricted CoS (RCoS) applications submitted before that date. However, the transition to the new salary rates means that the Home Office will adjust the arrangements for RCoS in April and May 2014 as follows:

  • Any RCoS granted before April 6, 2014, should be assigned by April 5, 2014. If not, Sponsors will need to ensure that the salary is in line with the revised salaries in the code of practice for the SOC code in question.
  • Rather than accepting RCoS applications from March 6 to April 5 to be decided on April 11, the Home Office will accept applications from April 6 to April 16, 2014, and decisions on these applications will be made on April 18, 2014.
  • Applications for the May allocation of RCoS will be accepted from April 17 to May 5 and the decision will be made on May 12. The monthly allocation process for June will revert to the usual schedule.
  • If an RCoS is required urgently between March 6 and April 16, an application must be submitted through SMS and exceptional consideration requested by email to Tier2Limits@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. This email must be sent to the Home Office on the same day as the application for an RCoS is submitted. 

Additional information includes:

Minimum salary thresholds:

  • Annual updates will be made to the absolute minimum salary thresholds for each Tier 2 category:
  • -    Tier 2 (General) minimum rises from £20,300 to £20,500
  • -    Tier 2 (ICT) Short-term staff, Skills Transfer, and Graduate trainee rises from £24,300 to £24,500
  • -    Tier 2 (ICT) Long-term staff rises from £40,600 to £41,000
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code salary levels:
  • Appropriate salary rates for each SOC code have also individually been reviewed, with some increases and some decreases.
Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)/Advertising:
  • Increases will be made to the salary thresholds with regard to advertising requirements under Tier 2 (General):
  • -    The salary level at which a role is exempt from being advertised on Jobcentre Plus/Directgov rises from £71,000 to £71,600
  • -    The "high earner" threshold at which a role is exempt from advertising rises from £152,100 to £153,500

Maintenance levels:

  • Maintenance amounts will increase beginning on July 1, 2014:
  • -    Tier 1 (General) migrants extending in the UK will need to have held £945 for 90 days, up from £900.
  • -    Tier 2 migrants will need £945 in maintenance and their dependents will need £630 in maintenance. Sponsors can continue to certify maintenance by confirming that they are happy to do so on the Certificate of Sponsorship.

Recommended actions:

  • Advertising carried out before April 6, 2014, in line with the rules in place at that time will continue to be acceptable. However, the salary listed on the Certificate of Sponsorship must be in line with the post-April 6, 2014, SOC code minimum if the visa application is made after that date.
  • "High earners" recruited before April 6, 2014, need only meet the pre-April 6, 2014, salary threshold of £152,100. Retain evidence that recruitment took place before April 6, 2014.
  • Inform migrants of new maintenance amounts; for example, any Tier 1 (General) migrants will need to have maintenance of £945 for themselves and £630 for each dependent for 90 continuous days if they plan to extend their stay after July 1, 2014.
  • Review relevant SOC codes and ensure that existing sponsored workers meet the potentially higher minimum "experienced worker" rate required for extension applications.

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