Further to Government’s statement of changes to the Immigration Rules of 14 March 2024 which is due to come into effect after the 4 April 2024 we have listed the main changes that may affect our clients:

Skilled Workers sponsored after 4 April 2024

The Skilled Worker minimum salary thresholds are increasing:

Those changes will also be reflected in the individual SOC codes. The appropriate rates detailed in the SOC codes will be increasing and will be set out in the new Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations from 4 April 2024

The 20% discount to the going rate for shortage occupations (Option D) will be removed, although the 10% discount for relevant PhDs (Option B), the 20% discount for STEM PhDs (Option C) and the 30% discount for new entrants (Option E) will be retained.  

The current Shortage Occupation List under Option D will be replaced with an Immigration Salary List, which contains fewer eligible SOC codes.

Please note that if an individual is applying to work in a role that is subject to a national pay scale, the minimum salary threshold will be £23,200 (Option K) but they must also be paid at least the appropriate rate set by the national pay scale for that role or salary band.  

If a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) was assigned before 4 April 2024

Where the applicant has been assigned a valid CoS before 4 April 2024 the application will be decided in line with the rules in force before 4 April 2024.

Current Skilled Workers applying to extend or change employers

Someone who has held continuous permission as a Skilled Worker that was originally granted before 4 April 2024 and where the role is not subject to the national pay scale, there will be smaller increases in the thresholds and going rates but these will still be based on the 25th percentile.

Some SOC codes which are eligible for sponsorship under the current rules will no longer be eligible after 4 April 2024 because they are now deemed to be skilled below RQF Level 3 – these are listed in the new Table 2a of Appendix Skilled Occupations and include examples such as nannies, concierges, fashion stylists and car salesmen. 

The New Immigration Salary List

In December 2023, the Home Secretary announced that the government would be removing the 20% discount to the going rate for roles on the Shortage Occupation List and would replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List.

The list will be ‘shorter’ and almost half of jobs currently on the list will be removed.

If a Skilled Worker is currently sponsored in a role which was included on the Shortage Occupation List but is no longer on the list when they make their next application, they will still be able score points for the lower threshold and for the 20% discount to the going rate, but only if they will be extending their visa to continue working in the same role for the same sponsor. 

Global Business Mobility routes

For the Global Business Mobility routes; most thresholds are being raised from 45,800 GBP to 48,500 GBP while the Graduate Trainee route threshold is being raised from 24,220 GBP to 25,410 GBP.

Going rates for the Global Business Mobility routes will continue to be based on the 25th percentile of roles within the relevant SOC code. This can be found in the new Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations, with Graduate Trainee continuing to benefit from the 30% discount to the going rate.

Changes to the scale-up route

The government has also increased the threshold salary for the scale-up route, raising this from 34,600 GBP to 36,300 GBP

Scale-up Worker visa

Since 22 August 2022, fast-growing UK businesses can attract talents under the Scale-up visa route.


A fast-growing or scale-up business is a high-growth company that has:

This definition seems in line with that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD defines high-growth enterprises as ‘All enterprises with average annualised growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three-year period should be considered as high-growth enterprises. Growth can be measured by the number of employees or by turnover.’

A Scale-up Worker visa will allow a visa national to come and perform an eligible job for a fast-growing company.


To qualify for a Scale-up Worker visa the applicant must:

Duration of Stay

The migrant can potentially stay for a:

  1. Sponsored stage of 2 years
  2. Unsponsored stage of 3 years

It is interesting to note that although the initial visa lasts for two years, the applicant must work for the specified sponsor for only the first six months. 

This is a welcomed option to the sponsor as after 6 months, the administrative duties imposed on the sponsor is lessened and there is no Immigration Skills Charge which represents a considerable saving to the employer.

For the employee, he or she enjoys some flexibility as to where he or she can work.

Becoming a Scale-up Sponsor

You will have to go through the normal process of applying for a Sponsorship Licence and the Sponsors who hold a general sponsor licence will need to add the scale-up option to their licence. When applying the Home Office will check the HMRC data directly and it is therefore important that the companies HMRC’s records are up to date.

Unlike the general licence, the scale-up licence cannot be renewed beyond the four years.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

After 5 years of continuous stay under the Scale-up Worker visa you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK and apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain.

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