On 14 March 2024, the government issued its Statement of Changes, setting out the full details of the changes to the salary threshold for skilled worker sponsorship due to come in on 4 April 2024. This is one of many measures being implemented by the government to curb net migration. For a full roundup of the measures, click here.

The details show that apart from the increase to the general threshold from £26,200 to £38,700, the going rate for most occupations will go up from the 25th percentile to the median, based on pay data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Sponsoring a skilled worker

This has significant increases to going rates for most occupations eligible for sponsorship. For example:

Occupation Current going rate Going rate after 4 April
IT directors£47,900£80,000
Electrical engineers£39,300£53,500
Management consultants and business analysts£32,000£48,000


To sponsor a skilled worker, employers must pay at least a general salary threshold or the going rate for the individual occupation, depending on which is higher. The changes to the going rate will therefore mean that, for most occupations, the salary threshold is now much higher than £38,700.

As an example, the new going rate for an IT project manager is £51,700 (increased from £39,100) per annum. The going rate being higher than the general threshold of £38,700 to sponsor an IT project manager, employers will now need to pay at least £51,900 per annum for a 37.5 hours per week role.

Introduction of other changes

Other changes coming in on 4 April 2024 include:

  • The removal of most occupations from the Shortage Occupation List (now referred to as the Immigration Salary List), hence reducing significantly those occupations that benefited from a 20% salary reduction;
  • Increasing the general threshold for Global Business Mobility (GBM) sponsorships from £45,800 to £48,500;
  • Relaxing the supplementary employment restrictions. Skilled workers will be able to undertake work in any occupation eligible for the route, provided it is outside of the hours of work with their main sponsor and it does not exceed 20 hours per week. Under the current rules, workers can take supplementary employment only if it is within the same occupation and at the same level as the sponsored role, or if it is a job on the shortage occupation list.

These changes will not apply to those who are already sponsored under the skilled worker route. They will instead be covered by transitional arrangements which will be in place until 3 April 2030, where a general threshold based on the 25th percentile will continue to apply, although it will be updated from £26,200 to £29,000. Going rates are also being updated based on the latest ONS pay data and/or the latest available national pay scales.

Employers should note that the last day to issue certificates of sponsorship based under the current salary rates is 7pm on 2 April 2024.

If you have questions about how the increase in the price of sponsorships will impact your business, please contact Tsige Berhanu.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.