On 4 December 2023, the Home Secretary announced several changes to the immigration system related to the Skilled Worker (SW) route. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) subsequently published its rapid review of the Immigration Salary List (ISL) on 23 February 2024 after being commissioned by the Home Secretary James Cleverly.


The Immigration Salary List will replace the current Shortage Occupation List (SOL) from April 2024. The main benefit of inclusion on the ISL is to allow employers to recruit migrant workers on a salary below the general threshold.


As this was a rapid review, the MAC only looked at jobs on the current SOL, and those which it previously recommended were added and have not been yet (65 in total). The rapid review is set to be followed by a more comprehensive analysis of the ISL which will take place later in 2024.


Its report recommends that 21 occupations be included on the ISL. This represents 8% of job roles eligible for the skilled worker immigration route. Previously, approximately 30% of job roles eligible for the skilled worker were on the SOL.


What changes are being implemented?


Below is a summary of changes in immigration rules related to the Government announcement (to be implemented from April 2024) includes:


Salary discount


The current 20% salary discount (previously known as the going rate) in shortage occupations is expected to end. The list will become the ‘Immigration Salary List’ instead of the ‘Shortage Occupation List’.



Skilled Worker route (except the health & care worker visa)


  • A new increase in the minimum salary required on the Skilled Worker visa from £26,200 to £38,700 from 4 April 2024
  • Migrant workers must be paid this unless their role is covered by the ISL, which allows employers to recruit migrant workers on a salary below the general threshold.
  • For occupations which are on the ISL, they will have a general salary threshold of £30,960 or their occupation- specific threshold, whichever is higher.


Health & Care Worker (H&CW) visa


  • An exemption recognising the public value and the government stated to “continue to bring the healthcare workers that our care sector and NHS need”.
  • The general threshold of £29,000 rather than £38,700, which continues to be the 25th percentile of salaries uprated to the latest data.
  • For occupation on the ISL, a threshold of either £23,200 or their occupation-specific threshold, whichever is higher.


The MAC has recommended 21 occupations be placed on the ISL, including:


  • Clinical psychologists
  • Electrical engineers
  • Boat and ship builders and repairers
  • Pharmaceutical technicians


What recommendations have been made in the rapid review?


The rapid review also returns to previous recommendations including:


  • Concern about ongoing low pay for public sector and careworkers (and a ‘widening divide occurring because of the increasing salary demands placed on the private sector, whilst occupations that are publicly funded receive exemptions from these thresholds’)


  • The impact of the April Rules changed on use of the ‘new entrant’ threshold (which provides a 30% discount on the occupation- specific threshold and a 20% discount on the general salary threshold for applicants who are under 26 or otherwise meet the definition)


  • Asylum seekers granted the right to work should be allowed to work in any job or at least any job eligible for the Skilled Worker route, and


  • In relation to the Creative Worker route (removing the resident labour market test references and attaching a minimum salary threshold)


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