Sponsors Beware - New SOC Codes and Salaries post 6 April Rule Changes!

3 mins

Posted on 24 Apr 2017

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. 

The changes

With the New Immigration Rule Changes of 6 April 2017, the Code of Practice for SOC codes (version 04/15) has now been archived.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! 

If you hold a Sponsor licence and have any questions or concerns, you can contact our dedicated Business Immigration team or email immigration@doyleclayton.co.uk

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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