Effective April 4, the UK government will elevate the minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas from £26,200 to £38,700, marking a 48% increase. This substantial rise, first announced by the Home Secretary last year, has ignited significant debate, particularly within the hospitality sector, over fears of potential staff shortages.
UKHospitality, a leading industry body, has highlighted that approximately 95% of the 8,500 skilled visas granted in 2022 for roles such as chefs and managers would not meet this new salary criterion. The increase is part of broader modifications to the UK's legal migration framework, which the Home Office indicated would be implemented in the coming weeks.
These changes include removing the 20% 'going rate' discount for jobs on the shortage occupation list. This will be substituted by a novel immigration salary list, slated for introduction in early April. The Migration Advisory Committee is tasked with recommending occupations for temporary inclusion on this list by March 14.
In a related move, the Migration Advisory Committee, in October 2023, did not propose adding any hospitality roles to the shortage occupation list. However, it did suggest that experienced sommeliers with over three years of full-time experience should qualify for skilled worker visas.
The minimum income threshold for family visas will also escalate in phases, starting from £29,000 on April 11 and reaching £38,700 by early 2025.
These impending changes underscore the evolving landscape of the UK's migration policy and its potential impact on various industries, particularly hospitality.
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