MAC Recommends 21 Jobs for New Immigration Salary List

| February 27, 2024
MAC Recommends 21 Jobs for New Immigration Salary List

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent public body that advises the government on migration issues, released its initial review of the new Immigration Salary List (ISL).

The 21 recommended occupations consist of 18 jobs for all of the UK’s ISL and three roles for Scotland-only ISL.

The recommended roles represent only eight percent of jobs qualified for the Skilled Worker employment route.

This means the Immigration Salary List is smaller than the current Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

The SOL included approximately 30 percent of the skilled worker employment route jobs.

Overhaul of Shortage Occupation List

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) comprises jobs in high demand and short supply in the UK labor market.

The eligibility criteria for sponsored work visa applications for roles in the SOL are more flexible.

Home Office Secretary James Cleverly announced in December 2023 that the Immigration Salary List (ISL) will replace the SOL.

Starting 14 March 2024, the government will also remove the 20 percent discount on SOL jobs.

In January 2024, the Home Office Secretary commissioned the MAC to review the SOL.

One of the goals of the SOL review is to check which jobs should be temporarily included on an initial ISL from April 2024.

Closure of many jobs under the skilled worker route

In its initial SOL review, the MAC also stated how raising the minimum salary threshold will affect jobs in the skilled worker route.

MAC found that the main benefit of the SOL is the 20 percent discount on the annual salary threshold for skilled workers.

However, this year, the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers will considerably increase due to the government’s policy changes to reduce net migration.

The minimum income salary threshold for general skilled workers will increase from £26,200 to £38,700 on 4 April.

MAC recommends the minimum income requirement for health and care workers, including care workers and senior care workers, increase from £26,200 to £29,000.

This is the 25th percentile of salaries, according to the latest data.

This means the new minimum salary threshold for general occupations with the SOL discount will increase from £20,960 to £30,960.

On the other hand, the minimum income salary threshold for health and care workers in the SOL and on a pay scale will be set at a lower amount of £23,200.

According to the committee, the higher salary threshold would close the skilled worker route for many occupations.

The Financial Times also reported that the MAC chair called for government clarification as new salary thresholds could close the visa system to non-graduate jobs.

The MAC asked the UK government to clarify the ISL’s purpose in its review. It is set to do a more thorough review later in the year.

Other strategies for reducing UK net migration

The legal migration policy changes announced in December 2023 aim to cut net migration by 300,000.

Apart from the higher salary threshold for skilled workers and replacing the SOL with the Immigration Salary List, the other changes in legal migration policies are listed below.

Health and care workers

Starting 11 March 2024, health and care workers can no longer bring dependents to the country.

On the same date and beyond, care providers who plan to sponsor migrant workers must also register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Family visa applicants

Family visa applicants will also be subject to a higher minimum salary threshold. However, it will be rolled out in phases to give predictability.

The UK government will increase the family visa salary threshold from £18,600 to £29,000. This will be implemented on 11 April.

By early 2025, the minimum salary threshold for family visa applicants will have increased to £38,700.

Graduate visa route

Within the year, the MAC will also review the Graduate visa route to prevent abuse and ensure it benefits the country.

A Graduate visa allows students who have already completed their studies to stay and work in the UK for two years or three years for graduates with doctoral qualifications.

Student visa rules

Starting January 2024, international students cannot switch to work visas before they complete their course.

Additionally, only postgraduate research students and those enrolled in government-funded scholarship courses can bring dependents to the UK.

Higher immigration health surcharge

In February, the higher immigration health surcharge for adults increased from £624 to £1,035 annually.

Children, students, their dependents, and applicants for the Youth Mobility Scheme will increase from £470 to £776 per year.

As of the year ending June 2023, the UK net migration number, or the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country, is 672,000.

It remains high but lower than the record level of 745,000 in the year ending December 2022.