Sponsors Beware - New SOC Codes and Salaries post 6 April Rule Changes!
Following changes to the Immigration Rules from 6 April 2017, Sponsors need to ensure that they check the correct Codes of Practice before issuing a certificate of Sponsorhip as some salaries have been changed.
If Sponsors want to employ a migrant to do a job, they must use the relevant SOC code, as set out in the current Code of Practice for Skilled Workers, in order to assess the correct skill level and appropriate rate for that job.
Before sponsoring a skilled migrant, Sponsors need to check that the job they are sponsoring them to do meets all the conditions of the relevant Code of Practice. If the job does not meet all the conditions, Sponsors cannot issue a Certificate of Sponsorship.
To find the relevant Code of Practice, Sponsors must first choose the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code that most closely matches the job they are sponsoring a migrant to do.
The relevant Code of Practice explains which jobs in the SOC code meet the following Tier 2 conditions:
- The job must be skilled to N/SVQ level 6 or above (with some exceptions for N/SVQ level 4 roles).
- The job must be paid at the appropriate rate or above (either at “new entrant” or the “experienced rate”).
The Codes of Practice may change over time. So Sponsors need to check the latest version before issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship for a migrant worker.
With the New Immigration Rule Changes of 6 April 2017, the Code of Practice for SOC codes (version 04/15) has now been archived. The Codes of Practice are now contained in an updated Appendix J of the Immigration Rules.
Going forwards, when Sponsors are checking a migrant’s SOC code and salary, they MUST check Appendix J rather than the previous Code of Practice document, as some salaries have been changed. Sponsors who issue a Certificate of Sponsorship at the wrong salary below the minimum salary threshold will find their employee’s visa/leave to remain application is refused as it does not meet the Tier 2 requirements. If they then wish to file a fresh Tier 2 visa/ leave to remain application with the correct salary rate, this will prove a very costly exercise as it will mean paying fresh visa fees, Skills Charge levy and NHS fees.
So Sponsors need to make sure they get it right the first time!