UK immigration update request for rapid report from Migration Advisory Committee report

Home Secretary commissioned report from the Migration Advisory Committee by 23rd February 2024

In his 5 points statements, James Cleverly, the UK Home Secretary, announced major changes to UK immigration and said that those will be implemented in ‘spring’ next year 2024. You may also wish to read our other blog article on the timeline for implementation of the 4th December changes.

James Cleverly on 17th January 2024 has written to Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out a rapid review of the new Immigration Salary List in time for its implementation in the Spring Immigration Rules.

UK immigration update January 2024

Rapid review request to Migration Advisory Committee – what will be reviewed

The Government is increasing the salary threshold for those arriving on the Skilled Worker route, by 48% from £26,200, which is based on the 25th percentile under Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data from 2021, to £38,700 from April 2024, which is based on the 50th percentile under ONS ASHE data from 2023.

Those already in the Skilled Worker route before the Immigration Rules changes should be exempt from the new median salary levels when they change sponsor, extend, or settle. Home Office would, however, expect their pay to progress at the same rate as resident workers; therefore, they would be subject to the updated 25th percentiles using the latest pay data – ASHE 2023 – when they next make an application to change employment, extend their stay, or settle. This is in line with normal practice.

Migrants entering the UK through the Health and Social Care Visa route will be exempt from the specific £38,700 salary threshold requirement applied to skilled workers, so that we can continue to bring the healthcare workers that our care sector and NHS need.

Home Office is also exempting from the new £38,7000 salary threshold workers in national payscale occupations, which will continue to be subject to their relevant occupational payscales.

As the MAC recommended in October 2023, Home Office will remove the 20% going rate discount for occupations on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which will be renamed the Immigration Salary List (ISL). The ISL will also be introduced from April 2024.

Immigration Salary List (ISL) replacing the Shortage Occupation List (SOL)

Regarding the SOL changes, the roles should only be included on the ISL where they are skilled, where there is a shortage of suitable resident workers available, and where it is sensible for immigration to be a part of the solution, at least in the short term. No sector should be permanently reliant on immigration and roles should not remain on the ISL forever.

Roles should also only be included where they will meaningfully benefit from the discount to the salary threshold, and where it is sensible to offer this discount to employers – meaning the discount must not put downwards pressure on pay, such that it is likely to undermine efforts to recruit resident workers.

What is the Home Secretary’s request to the MAC

The Home Secretary is asking the MAC to consider which occupations from the current SOL and/or the MAC’s October 2023 recommended SOL (converted to their SOC 2020 equivalents) should be temporarily included on an initial ISL from April 2024 ahead of a wider review, which the Government will commission in the near future. The report is requested from the MAC by 23 February 2024. The Government will then consider the MAC’s recommendations with a view to implementing an initial ISL from April 2024.

Migration Advisory Committee accepted the request

MAC accepted this commission and acknowledged the request to report back by 23 February 2024. The MAC will also take the opportunity in the rapid review to highlight the details of the new salary thresholds and the potential benefits of the ISL that will need to be clarified prior to a full review.

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