Tier 2: Changes to salary thresholds and skilled occupations list on 6 April 2013

The UKBA have published a statement of intent detailing changes to the appropriate salary rates for specific occupations, visa salary thresholds and the skilled occupations list. The proposed changes will be made on 6 April 2013. Whilst the final changes made may differ from what is given here, these are a good indication of what changes will be made.

The changes, including complete new Skilled Occupation Lists and appropriate salaries, are detailed in the Home Office document, Statement of Intent: Codes of Practice for skilled workers. The proposed changes will increase visa salary thresholds in line with inflation over the last year. There are also details of how salary thresholds will be set across occupations in the future, which are detailed on page 5 of the report.

The changes also respond to recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in October 2012. The MAC recommended simplifying the occupation list for occupations listed at NQF level 6 and PhD-level occupations. There are also changes to occupations listed at NQF levels 3 and 4, which applies to skilled workers who got their Tier 2 visa before the threshold was raised to NQF level 6 in June 2012.

Workers in these extremely high-skilled occupations have a higher priority under the Tier 2 limit, a lighter touch Resident Labour Market Test, and are exempt from the £35,000 earnings threshold for settlement applications, which will apply from April 2016.

Tier 2 salary thresholds from 6 April 2013

The new salary thresholds are based on a 1.4% increase in line with the Average Weekly Earnings Index (AWEI).  Thresholds have been rounded to the nearest £100.

CategoryCriteriaCurrent thresholdNew Threshold
Tier 2 (General)Jobs which qualify for Tier 2 (General)£20,000£20,300
Tier 2 (General)Jobs which are exempt from advertising in Jobcentre Plus (or JobCentre Online if the job is based in Northern Ireland)£70,000£71,000
Tier 2 (General)Jobs which are exempt from the annual limit and the Resident Labour Market Test£150,000£152,100
Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)Jobs which qualify for the Short Term Staff, Skills Transfer or Graduate Trainee categories (maximum stay either six months or one year)£24,000£24,300
Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)Jobs which qualify for the Long Term Staff category (maximum stay five years)£40,000£40,600
Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)Workers who can extend their stay in the UK for up to nine years£150,000£152,100
Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson)Earnings which qualify for settlement (those working in PhD-level or shortage occupations are exempt)£35,000 (for settlement applications made on or after 6th April)£35,500 (for settlement applications made on or after 6th April)

Applicants’ pay must meet the relevant minimum salary threshold, as well as the appropriate rate. If, for example, the appropriate rate for an applicant’s occupation is £19,000 and they are applying as a new entrant in Tier 2 (General), they must be paid at least £20,300.

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