News & Insights

The New Immigration Salary List

The Migration Advisory Committee have reported on the new Immigration Salary List, which is set to replace the Shortage Occupation List from 4 April 2024.

 The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) sets out jobs in industries suffering from a labour shortage in the UK. If an occupation code is included on the SOL, then a worker applying for a Skilled Worker visa using that occupation code will benefit from reduced visa application fees. The worker’s employer will also benefit, via reduced minimum salary requirements, normally at 80% of the occupation code’s ordinary going rate. These reduced immigration costs are meant to incentivise the recruitment of skilled migrant workers to fill labour shortages in the UK.

Back in November, we addressed the somewhat surprising recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that the SOL be scrapped. In their October 2023 review, the MAC advised that the SOL was not intended to be anything more than a temporary solution to labour shortages in the UK, and that skills shortages ought to instead be addressed through improved training, work conditions, and career progression. The MAC also raised concerns that the SOL enabled employers to exploit the desperation of migrants while undercutting local workers.

At the time, the MAC suggested that it might consider developing tailored immigration solutions for each sector or job role. However, for the time being, the MAC has instead opted to recommend 21 occupations to be included on a new Immigration Salary List (ISL). The ISL seems to retain the general spirit of the SOL, with the 20% discount remaining in place.

However, of the 21 occupations recommended for inclusion on the ISL, 18 of these were UK-wide, with 3 being restricted to Scotland only. This is far less than the number of occupations currently represented on the SOL and would amount to a significant decrease in the variety of roles and sectors that benefit from reduced salary rates.

In the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules published on 14 March 2024, the ISL includes 23 occupations – slightly higher than the MAC’s recommendation. Again, 3 of these are restricted to Scotland only.

It is anticipated that the MAC will carry out a full review of the ISL in mid-to-late 2024. Employers experiencing skills shortages may want to consider engaging in the full ISL review, to provide evidence of their shortages and feedback on the MAC’s recommendations.

If you would like advice on sponsoring a Skilled Worker or on preparing a Skilled Worker visa application, please get in touch at [email protected]