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Options for Employers to Attract International Graduate Talent with Lower Salary Packages

May 15, 2024

From 4 April 2024, UK's Skilled Worker visa will require a minimum salary of £38,700, making it harder for employers to hire workers from overseas. The Shortage Occupation List is being replaced with a new Immigration Salary List, which will show the minimum salary for different jobs. However, there are other options available for employers to hire talented graduates who are willing to work for lower salaries.

New Entrants

Under the Skilled Worker route, employers can sponsor workers on a salary that is lower than the general threshold if the worker is a ‘new entrant’ to the UK labour market.
To qualify as a new entrant at the start of their career, the applicant must meet one or more of the following requirements.
• The applicant is under the age of 26 on the date of application.
• The job for which the applicant is being sponsored is a postdoctoral position in any of the following SOC 2020 occupation codes: 2111 Chemical scientists, 2112 Biological scientists, 2113 Biochemists and biomedical scientists, 2114 Physical scientists, 2115 Social and humanities scientists, 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified, 2162 Other researchers, unspecified discipline, 2311 Higher education teaching professionals.
• The job for which the applicant is being sponsored is in a UK Regulated Profession and the applicant is working towards a recognised professional qualification for that profession.
• The applicant is working towards full registration or chartered status with the relevant professional body for the job for which they are being sponsored.
• The applicant’s most recent permission (other than as a visitor) was as a student, and if that permission has expired, it must have expired less than 2 years before the date of application.
• The applicant’s most recent permission (other than as a visitor) was as a Graduate, and if that permission has expired, it must have expired less than 2 years before the date of application.
Under the new salary thresholds, new entrants must be paid a salary that equals or exceeds £30,960 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation.
A lower salary can be paid for new entrants in certain health and education occupations where going rates are based on national pay scales. In this case, new entrants must be paid a salary that equals or exceeds £23,200 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation.

International Graduates

The UK’s Graduate visa allows international students to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level after completing an eligible course at a UK institution.
Undergraduates and master’s degree students can stay for up to 2 years on a Graduate visa, whilst PhD students can stay for up to 3 years.
The route is unsponsored, meaning applicants do not need to hold a job offer to apply. This means employers do not require a Home Office sponsor licence to recruit workers on a Graduate visa.
However, a Graduate visa cannot be extended when it expires. This means if an employer wishes to continue employing the worker after their Graduate visa expires, they will need to apply to sponsor them under an alternative route, such as the Skilled Worker route, if they meet the requirements.
As part of its five-point plan to reduce net migration, the Home Office has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out a rapid review of the Graduate route, to ensure it is operating in the best interests and priorities of the UK and that steps are being taken to prevent abuse.
The MAC is expected to report on its findings in May 2024, and the government will consider the MAC’s analysis to implement any changes in due course.

International Students

On a student visa, most international students are permitted to work alongside their studies in limited circumstances.
The main purpose of the student route is for students to come to the UK to study, so any work carried out should be to supplement their income whilst studying, or as part of a work placement.
There are limits on students’ working hours that depend on when they apply for permission to come to or stay in the UK, the type of course they study and what type of student sponsor they have.
As a rule, students studying a full-time course at a degree level or above are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.
Students studying a course below degree level can usually work up to 10 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.
In both cases, students must be sponsored by a higher education institution with a track record of compliance.
No work is allowed for students studying part-time courses at post-graduate degree level or above, or for students studying courses at any level with a higher education provider which does not have a track record of compliance.

UK Visas offer a comprehensive range of services for corporate clients and individuals

Our immigration and visa application experts will take the time to understand your requirements before recommending the most appropriate service to meet your needs, all at a competitive price.
To see how we can help, contact us today on 01403 801801 or [email protected]

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