The £35,000 Threshold Effect (for Tier 2 Visa Applications)

The £35,000 Threshold Effect (for Tier 2 Visa Applications)

The change in Immigration Rules concerning the Tier 2 visa route was proposed by the previous incumbent Home Secretary Theresa May. In the proposal it was stated that for an individual to be a permanent resident in the United Kingdom as a skilled worker on a Tier 2 visa he/she is expected to receive a minimum salary of £35,000 annually. Concerns have been raise by employers in the United Kingdom because they fear they will lose their current employees because they currently earn lower than the newly set threshold. Also it is believe that the effect of this threshold might make employees decide against permanent residence in the United Kingdom as Tier 2 skilled workers. While the employees will seek for better options in other countries, it could lead to a reduced amount of skilled workers in the UK that may negatively affect the British economy.

The New Immigration Rules in Relation to Tier 2 Settlement

As contained in the new immigration Rules, skilled workers must earn at least £35,000 annually. This will remain until April 2018 after which it will be increased in the following three years as such:

  • £35,500 - If the application will be made on or after the 6th of April 2018;
  • £35,800 - If the application will be made on or after the 6th of April 2019; and
  • £36,200 - If the application will be made on or after the 6th of April 2020.

As a result of these changes in the salary threshold for Tier 2 applicants, many of them may not meet the criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). An appeal against this threshold increased entitled "Scrap the £35,000 threshold for non-European Union citizens settling in the United Kingdom" have commenced since May 2016 gaining over 100,000 endorsements. This appeal is of the opinion that the threshold is not fair to charity workers, nurses, students etc.

Well educated and highly skilled workers are required in the United Kingdom so as to help generate more income for the support of public service through payment of higher tax. The United Kingdom does not need to create large global job marketplace for low income earning, unskilled jobs that could be occupied by British employees. In reality there are lots of important job positions that are vital to the performance of the general public of whose employees would not accumulate a salary of £35,000 even if they have worked for 6 years; bringing to being that many people do not earn up to £35,000 or higher yearly.

If the immigration threshold would be applicable to European Union citizens seeking to take up employment in the United Kingdom, then it could raise concerns because there is a tendency that the country would not benefit from the talent and money that the skilled workers can generate for the economy of the country.

The Effect of the Salary Threshold on Employers

Businesses and employers in the United Kingdom have complained that they will be affected by the salary threshold increase; in sectors such as engineering it has been stated by employers in the sector that they are facing shortage of skilled workers, also they would be further affected by the new threshold increase as £32,000 is the average annual salary for junior engineers.

More so, the reliance on foreign skilled worker by most of the United Kingdom Businesses causes concern to them as there is an increased tendency that they will lose their Tier 2 sponsored skilled workers because they may not be able to afford to pay up to the new minimum salary threshold.

As a result of the outcome of the Brexit vote on the 24th of June 2016, businesses are now worried that if the new rules are applied to employees who are of European Economic Areas descent their business operations may be negatively affected.

Immigration Guidance for Tier 2 Applicants, European Economic Area (EEA) Citizens & United Kingdom Employers

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