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Minimum salary rates for Tier 2 visas

The minimum salary rate for a Tier 2 visa depends on whether the indivdual is classed as a 'new entrant' or an 'experienced worker'.

From 6 April 2017, for 'new entrants' , the minimum salary rate will be £20,800 but for 'experienced workers', this will rise to  £30,000. This represents the absolute minimum salary an individual must receive in order to be eligible for a Tier 2 visa. Pro-rata below this amount is not permissible.

The minimum salary criteria is now one of the most complex areas in Tier 2. The flowchart below will assist you in determining which minimum salary level will apply:

You must ensure the individual is paid at or above either the SOC code minimum or the absolute minimum, whichever is the highest. For example:

 

  • You wish to appoint an 'experienced' Research Associate through Tier 2 (SOC code 2119). As the SOC code minimum is £28,000, and the absolute minimum is £30,000, they must be paid at or above the absolute minimum of £30,000.
  • You wish to appoint an 'experienced' University Lecturer through Tier 2 (SOC code 2311). As the SOC code minimum is £35k, and the absolute minimum is 30k, they must be paid at or above the SOC code minimum of 35k.

 

SOC Code minimum rates

 

For PhD level SOC Codes (which are most commonly seen by the University), the following minimum salary rates apply:

SOC Code

Equivalent University job role

Minimum ‘New Entrant’ Rate

Minimum ‘Experienced’ Rate

 

2111 Chemical Scientists

Codes 2111-2119 can be all used to define the following job roles, as appropriate:

 

  • Research Assistant
  • Research Associate
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Visiting researcher
  • Research Fellow

£21,600

£28,000

2112 Biological Scientists and Biochemists

£21,600

£28,000

2113 Physical Scientists

£21,600

£28,000

2114 Social and Humanities Scientists

£21,600

£28,000

2119 Natural and Social Science Professionals not elsewhere classified

£21,600

£28,000

2150 Research and Development Managers

Director of Research

£27,100

£35,000

2311 Higher Education Teaching Professionals

  • University Lecturer
  • Reader
  • Professor

£25,700

£32,300

Research Assistants and the 'Experienced' rate

There is a potential problem when appointing Research Assistants who are classed as 'experienced' workers through Tier 2. This is because the top point of the Grade 5 salary scale is below the minimum £30,000 'experienced worker' rate.

For Research Assistants positions who fall into the ‘experienced worker’ category and you wish to sponsor through Tier 2, it is not currently possible to do so unless you initially advertised into the contribution points and at offer stage, receive permission through an HR4 to appoint them at a salary over £30,000.

For Research Assistant positions where the successful candidate is either 25 and under or, regalrdess of age, is switching from a Tier 4 visa with a contract of 3 years or less,  the appointment will not be requried to meet the minimum £30,000 rate and can be appointed as appropriate within the Grade 5 scale.

Teaching Associates and the 'Experienced' rate

Teaching Associates fall into SOC code 2311, which provides for a new entrant rate of £25,000 and an experienced rate of £31,400. Teaching Associates fall in Grade 7. The new entrant rate falls below the bottom of Grade 7, so new entrants are not a concern. However, experienced workers cannot be appointed to a Teaching Associateship unless a case can be made (using the normal HR4 process) to appoint them to at least point 42 on the spine.