Home Office Adopts MAC’s ISL Jobs, Offers Salary Threshold Discount

| March 19, 2024
Home Office Adopts MAC's ISL Jobs, Offers Salary Threshold Discount

The United Kingdom (UK) Home Office adopted the job recommendations of the Migrant Advisory Committee (MAC) for the new Immigration Salary List (ISL) and retained the discount on the salary threshold.

In a letter to the MAC’s chair Professor Brian Bell, Home Office Secretary James Cleverly thanked the independent committee for its rapid review of the new ISL.

“This has enabled us to implement the changes to the contents of the [ISL] list alongside the other related changes,” he stated.

The ISL replaces the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and removes its 20 percent discount on the going rate effective 4 April.

Like the SOL, occupations included in the ISL will receive a 20 percent discount based on the new increased salary threshold.

The British government is increasing the minimum salary requirement for general skilled workers from £26,200 to £38,700.

This effectively means that “only employers who pay well will be able to make use of the route” included in the ISL jobs.

The Home Office released the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules on 14 March to reflect these changes.

MAC recommends 21 jobs for ISL

The MAC recommended 21 jobs for the Immigration Salary List (ISL), including 18 UK-only and three Scotland-only jobs.

The government accepted all of the MAC’s recommended ISL jobs except for two occupations related to the fishing industry.

The MAC has concerns about exploitation in the fishing sector and calls for action. The government will identify how else to support the industry, aside from immigration, to tackle these issues.

Still, the two fishing occupations remain temporarily included in the ISL list, pending the MAC’s full review later in the year.

The government also adopted the MAC’s October 2023 recommendation to remove references to shortage occupations from the Creative Worker route.

However, it will not impose a salary threshold for these jobs due to the varied nature of roles in the creative industries.

Instead, creative workers must contribute uniquely to the UK’s cultural life, especially where no specific job code exists.

Only eight percent of all jobs eligible for the Skilled Worker employment route are included in the ISL.

The abolished Shortage Occupation List (SOL) covered about 30 percent of all Skilled Worker employment route jobs.

This makes the ISL much smaller than the SOL. The following are the jobs included in the ISL:

  • Managers and proprietors in forestry, fishing, and related services
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Pharmaceutical technicians
  • Boat and ship builders and repairers
  • Stonemasons and related trades
  • Bricklayers
  • Roofers, roof tilers, and slaters
  • Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified
  • Animal care services occupations not elsewhere classified
  • Care workers and home carers
  • Senior care worker

The following are the new ISL occupation recommendations due to increased salary thresholds:

  • Chemical scientists
  • Biological scientists
  • Social and humanities scientists
  • Artists
  • Dancers and choreographers
  • Musicians
  • Arts officers, producers, and directors
  • Graphic and multimedia designers
  • Welding trades
  • Carpenters and joiners

ISL jobs to maintain salary threshold discount

The government made it clear that the jobs listed in the ISL are roles deemed worthy of a discounted salary threshold.

This differs from the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which included jobs from sectors experiencing labor shortages.

Like the previous list, occupations included receive a 20 percent discount on the general salary threshold.

However, the old 20 percent discount on the going rate requirement has been removed.

The minimum salary requirement for general skilled workers will increase from the 25th percentile to the median UK earnings in eligible occupations.

This includes higher ‘going rates’ for specific occupations, which will also move from the 25th percentile to the median.

The changes to the minimum salary threshold and going rates are based on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) pay data.

Starting 4 April, employers sponsoring skilled workers must pay at least £38,700 or the ‘going rate’ for their occupation, whichever is higher.

This means the discounted salary threshold for general skilled worker jobs on the ISL will now be £30,960.

Health and care workers and those working jobs where going rates are set using national pay scales are exempted from the new median salary requirement.

However, a standard threshold still applies for health and care workers, which will increase from £26,200 to £29,000.

This means the discounted salary threshold for health and care worker jobs on the ISL will now be £23,200.

More changes to reduce net migration

These changes to the SOL and salary thresholds for skilled workers aim to reduce the UK’s net migration by 300,000.

Along with these new policies, the UK government also increased the salary threshold for new family-related visa applicants from £18,600 to £29,000.

This is only the first phase of the increase, and it is expected to rise to £38,700, the same as the general skilled worker salary threshold, in early 2025.

Additionally, health and care workers are not allowed to bring dependents to the UK. Only select Student visa holders can bring their families to the UK.

Student visa holders can only switch to the Work visa route after finishing their course.

The Home Office also requested that the MAC review the Graduate visa route to determine whether it still serves its original purpose or is being abused.

These immigration rule changes were all announced by the Home Office Secretary in December 2023.