The United Kingdom’s Migration Advisory Committee recently recommended that 21 roles be included on the new Immigration Salary List. The ISL is set to replace the U.K.’s Shortage Occupation List, which was the official list of skilled jobs for which workers are deemed to be in short supply. The creation of the ISL was part of a plan, announced Dec. 4, 2023, to curb immigration abuse and cut net migration. The proposal calls for raising the general salary threshold for the Skilled Worker route, replacing the SOL with the ISL and ending the 20% “going rate” discount for occupations on the SOL.

Key Points:

  • The MAC recommended 11 skilled worker occupations for the ISL that were previously included in the 2023 recommendations for SOL. These include laboratory technicians, pharmaceutical technicians, boat and ship builders and repairers, stonemasons, bricklayers, roofers and care workers.
  • MAC is recommending 10 additional occupations due to increased salary thresholds. These include chemical and biological scientists, artists, musicians, dancers and choreographers, carpenters and welders.
  • The ISL is set to replace the SOL on April 4, 2024.

Background: Under the SOL, employers could pay 80% of the U.K.’s minimum general salary threshold of £26,200 (about US$33,048) and hire overseas workers at 80% of the “going rate” for those occupations. In April, the minimum general salary threshold will increase significantly, to £38,700, meaning that the Skilled Worker route will become unavailable for many occupations. In January, the Home Office commissioned the MAC to develop a list of occupations on the SOL that should be included in the ISL. The MAC issued its recommendations on Feb. 23.

The 21 recommended occupations for ISL inclusion represent 8% of the jobs eligible for the Skilled Worker route, compared with 30% of job roles eligible for the Skilled Worker route on the SOL. Being on the list means employers who seek to hire overseas workers to fill vacancies in those occupations will have preferential criteria. MAC recommends that placement on the ISL will give occupations the same 20% discount on the general salary threshold as has been the case with the SOL. It is expected that the U.K. Visas and Immigration visa application fee will remain slightly cheaper for jobs on the ISL.

The MAC is the U.K. government’s independent advisory body on immigration policy. Its recommendations are not binding but are considered influential and are often adopted. A fuller review of the ISL is expected by year’s end.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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