Theresa May’s £35,000 Threshold too High for Tier 2 Visa Applications​

On 6 April 2016, new immigration rules relating to the Tier 2 visa route came into place following Home Secretary Theresa May’s proposals. In order to settle in the UK, skilled workers on a Tier 2 visa must now earn a minimum annual salary of £35,000. This salary threshold has caused quite a stir among UK employers who fear that they will lose existing employees as they are currently on salaries that are relatively lower. Furthermore, as a result of the threshold, potential employees may decide against settling in the UK and may turn their attention to other parts of the world. This could mean Britain loses talented workers who could be an asset to the economy.

Immigration Rules on Tier 2 Settlement

The new immigration rules require, skilled workers take home a minimum of £35,000 a year. The pay threshold will be held at £35,000 until early April 2018 and will increase over the next 3 years in the following ways:
  •  £35,500 if applying on or after 6 April 2018;
  • £35,800 if applying on or after 6 April 2019; and
  • £36,200 if applying on or after 6 April 2020.

Given the salary threshold in the new rules, many may not qualify for ILR.  A petition was set up in March this year calling on the UK Government to scrap the threshold; the petition has attracted over a 100,000 signatures, so far. The petition entitled ‘Scrap the £35k threshold for non-EU citizens settling in the UK’ says that the threshold, ‘unfairly discriminates against charity workers, nurses, students and others.’

The UK  needs well educated, highly skilled employees who will also pay a higher rate of tax to support public services, without unnecessarily creating a huge global jobs marketplace at home for low paid, unskilled jobs which could be filled by British staff. The reality is that many people do not earn £35,000 or more. There are many job roles critical to the functioning of our society which will never garner a salary of £35,000, even after six years in employment.

The current concern now is if the Home Secretary applies her immigration policies to new EU nationals looking to work in the UK, we will lose out on many skilled workers and the talent and money they bring to the economy.

UK Employers Fear the Effect of Salary Threshold

Many businesses and employers have voiced their concerns about the salary threshold increase. Some sectors facing skills shortage such as engineers, have stated that they will be affected by the new rules for settlement as the average salary of a junior engineer is just £32,000.

Many businesses rely heavily on skilled foreign workers are concerned that they will lose their Tier 2 sponsored employees with specialist skills, if they cannot afford to pay them up to the minimum income threshold.

And since the results of the referendum on 24 June 2016, where the UK voted to leave the EU, businesses are now concerned that the new rules if applied to EEA national employees will further have an impact on their businesses.

Immigration Advice for UK Employers ,Tier 2 Applicants & EEA Nationals

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a Tier 2 General migrant visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.

We also undertake a great deal of appeal work before the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and have a successful track record of successful results for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully. If you have had a Tier 2 General visa refused, contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment.


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