How visa changes impact how international students can work in the UK

Jul 3, 2024 | Home Featured, Sector & policy, Webinars | 0 comments

Kirin Abbas at Paragon Law explains government changes to the UK’s visa regime.

In April 2024 UKVI overhauled the skilled worker visa criteria which has had a direct impact upon students looking for employment and sponsorship as a skilled worker in the UK.

Following the increase in salaries we have seen business’s withdrawing sponsorship that would have been available to international student and graduate leave holders prior to the April 2024 changes.

In an ISE webinar, which is prepared and presented by Paragon Law, we looked at the changes to the skilled worker criteria as well as other recent changes that impact upon students and their right to work in the UK.

Post April 2024 salaries for students switching to a Skilled Worker visa

The general salary figures for skilled workers have significantly increased from April 2024.

The new entrant salary concession remains and this allows a reduction to the overall salary that must be paid. The general salary figure has increased from £20,960 to £30,960 so a difference of £10,000.

A 30% discount to the going rate salary under the best fit occupation code for the role will continue apply. This will be subject to a minimum hourly rate of £15.88, increased from £10.75 per hour.

The salaries under Standard Occupation Codes have also been increased and the 2010 codes have been replaced with the 2020 codes, which have considerably higher salaries. However, the 70% reduction of the going rate salary remains in place for new entrants which gives some relief.

Examples of the new codes and the salaries applicable have been given in the webinar.

Other concessions also remain in place such as a reduction in salary for PhD holders where the PhD is applicable to the role. The shortage occupation list has been removed and replaced with the Immigration salary list which has a much smaller number of occupation codes, that benefit from a reduced salary.

The Health and Care work visa also remains under the post April 2024 which continues to benefit from no payment of the immigration health surcharge for certain roles in the health and care industry.

Other recent updates

As of 17 July 2023 students can only commence working as a skilled after the end date of their course.

An application may be submitted up to three months prior to the start date of the skilled worker visa by the student, but the work start date must be after the course end date. The only exception to this is for PhD students who can switch to a skilled worker visa 24 months after the start date of their PhD.

Students commencing a course from 1 January 2024 are no longer able to bring dependents to the UK. The only exception to this rule are students studying a postgraduate research programme.

Finally, other categories were generally considered in the webinar that students may be able to apply for.

The graduate visa, being one of the most popular visas for students, can be applied for upon successful completion of a UK degree (bachelors, masters or PhD).

The global talent visa which appears to be growing in popularity, involves obtaining an endorsement based upon the student’s work and then applying for a visa. Neither of these visas require a job offer or a sponsor and allow the holder to work in the UK.

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