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Minimum Salary Thresholds for Non-EU Workers - Upcoming Changes?

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The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published a review of Tier 2 migration which suggests changes to the salary thresholds that must be met when hiring skilled non-EU workers.

In order to hire non-EU workers, employers must ensure that their potential employee has a right to remain and work in the UK. Where an employer wants to hire a highly skilled non-EU worker to work in the UK they have the option of ‘sponsoring’ them through the Tier 2 Visa system. In order to do this, an employer must currently jump through the following hoops:

  • They must register as a Tier 2 Sponsor.
  • Their must be a genuine vacancy for the job being offered.
  • They must prove that they need to hire a non-EU worker because:
  • They have been unable to find a suitable worker in the UK or EU, and/or
  • The job is on the Home Office approved Shortage Occupation List
  • The salary for the role must be at least the higher of the following values:
  • The general minimum salary threshold of £20,800, or
  • The minimum salary threshold for the specific occupation as set out in the Home Office’s Codes of Practice.

The MAC have suggested that the salary threshold should be changed in order to deter employers from hiring non-EU workers and to encourage further training of the domestic labour market.

The MAC propose that the general minimum salary threshold be increased from £20,800 to £30,000.

They further propose that employers should have to pay an ‘Immigration Skills Charge’ of £1000 per year for each Tier 2 worker they employ.

Immigration reforms to the salary thresholds usually take place in either April or October, so employers need to be preparing for the possible changes. If the recommendations are accepted and implemented in the near future then employers will need consider whether they can continue to afford to employ workers under the Tier 2 system when their employees’ sponsorship / visa next comes up for renewal.

For more information on sponsoring non-EU workers or these possible changes then a member of our Immigration team will be able to advise further.

If these changes are implemented and you are no longer able to employ a Tier 2 worker, then please contact a member of our Immigration or Employment team who can advise on the recommended procedure.

For further information or advise please call Louis on 01522 541181 or email