Change 3: Sponsorship
BREAKING NEWS – December 4th 2023: The UK government has announced that it will increase the salary threshold for workers who need sponsorship from £26,200 to £38,700 starting from spring 2024. This change is expected to have a significant impact on the hospitality industry. The basic salary, excluding tips, will mean that many companies sponsoring a chef de partie will not be able to sponsor new ones. Candidates who are in the UK now under sponsorship will not be able to move to a new company after May if the salary does not meet the requirements. Most sponsorships last up to 5 years but only for that one company, moving companies means a worker needs a new sponsorship. This could have a big impact for companies and also for workers, as they would need to stay with their sponsored company for the length of the sponsorship unless they are doing a job that is paying at least £38,700 basic salary. At the time writing this, the average salary in London is £32000 – £35000 basic and out of London is £30000 for a chef de partie.
It’s worth noting that the hospitality industry has already been struggling with a shortage of skilled workers, and this change could exacerbate the situation. However, according to a recent survey, hospitality wages have risen by 9.5% over the last year, compared with the national average of 6.6%. Pub wages are growing at the fastest rate within the sector, increasing by an average of 11.3%. Employees working in Greater London and the northwest of England also reported the highest pay increases. These figures on the hospitality sector come from a survey conducted by the company across 500 hospitality employers and 750 UK hospitality employees.
You might ask “What about the higher £38,700 salary threshold for the Skilled Worker visa – will that apply to people already here on that visa?” The answer on the government website as of January 2024 is – NO. “Those already in the Skilled work route, and applications made before the rules change, will not be subject to the new £38,700 salary threshold when they change employment, extend, or settle” [source]
For people who have a dependent coming over, The minimum income normally required to sponsor someone for a spouse/partner visa will rise in stages from £18,600 to £29,000 and ultimately around £38,700. This is the amount the person in the UK will be required to earn to bring someone over.