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Work Visa Rules Changes

As confirmed in the ‘Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules’ (HC1160) published on 9th March 2023, the Home Office has made a series of changes to the Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility, and Scale-up visa routes. In this article, we will summarise these changes and explain the implications for sponsoring businesses and individual visa applicants.

Change 1: Updated Salary Thresholds and Going Rates Based On The Latest UK Salary Data For 2023

The salary thresholds for the Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility and Scale-up visas will all increase in line with the latest UK salary data from 12th April 2023, as follows:

New Skilled Worker Visa Salary Thresholds

  • Option A: Increased from £25,600 to £26,200
  • Option B: Increased from £23,040 to £23,580
  • Options C, D, and E: Increased from £20,480 to 20,960
  • Hourly thresholds: Increased from £10.10 per hour to £10.75 per hour

New Global Business Mobility Salary Thresholds

The general annual salary threshold for the Senior or Specialist workers visas and the Expansion worker visa under the Global Business Mobility route will change from £42,400 to £45,800.

New Scale-up Visa Salary Thresholds

The Scale-up annual salary threshold will increase from £33,000 to £34,600.

Change 2: How Salaries For Those Working Irregular Weekly Hours Should Be Calculated

The immigration rule changes clarify how salaries should be calculated for Skilled workers, Global Business Mobility, Scale-up, and Seasonal Worker visa applicants with irregular weekly working hours, as follows:

  • work in excess of 48 hours in some weeks can be considered towards the salary threshold as long as the average over a regular cycle (which can be less than, but not more than, 17 weeks) is not more than 48 hours a week
  • any unpaid rest weeks will count towards the average when considering whether the salary thresholds are met, and
  • any unpaid rest weeks will not count as absences from employment

The Home Office provide the example of an applicant who works a pattern of 60 hours a week for £20 per hour for two weeks, followed by an unpaid rest week. In this case, they will be considered to work 40 hours a week on average and have an annual salary of £41,600 (£20 x 40 x 52).

Change 3: Non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage Regulations or the Working Time Regulations

The immigration rules will state that Skilled worker/Global Business Mobility/Scale-up/Seasonal Worker applicants who require a specific job offer will be refused if the Home Office believe that the job being offered does not comply with the National Minimum Wage Regulations or the Working Time Regulations.

Change 4: The continuity of employment rules

Amendments are being made to the rules on the continuity of employment, meaning that attending Jury service or court as a witness will be taken into consideration when determining if a person has broken their continuous period of employment.

Change 5: UK Expansion Worker visa rules changed to reflect UK Australia Free Trade Agreement

And finally, a change has been made to the Global Business Mobility UK Expansion Worker visa to reflect commitments made as part of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This change means that Australian nationals and permanent residents coming to the UK to open a branch or subsidiary on behalf of their Australian employer will not be required to have worked for their overseas employer for 12 months before coming to the UK.

Garth Coates is a leading niche immigration firm based in the heart of London, specialising in all forms of personal and business immigration, including visas, global mobility, sponsorship and compliance, settlement, and citizenship. If you need any further information on these amendments or any other immigration matter, please speak to one of our business immigration Solicitors on tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or by completing our online contact form.

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