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To pay or not to pay – migrant workers’ salaries


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To pay or not to pay

To pay or not to pay – migrant workers’ salaries

One of the underlying problems with the UK’s current immigration system is linked to the salaries of experienced workers.

Experienced workers are defined as:

  • Any student holding a Tier 4 Student visa switching into Tier 2 at the aged of 26 or over on the date of their Tier 2 visa application; or
  • Any Tier 2 work permit holder wishing to extend their stay on Tier 2 beyond 3 years and 1 month; or
  • Anyone who has a Certificate of Sponsorship issued for longer than 3 years.

It can be argued that there is no correlation as to how much a worker should be paid based on their age. A company cannot justify paying someone with an experienced worker rate just because of their age.

A worker should be paid based on their skills, knowledge, and experience. An ideology based on meritocracy.

Under the current system, if a company hires a migrant worker who is classed as an experienced worker by the definition above, even if they do not have the employment experience, then, the company must pay the migrant worker at the experienced worker rate.

The Home Office’s intention is to ensure that the residents in the UK are prioritised over migrants. However, it seems that the UK and the businesses in the UK cannot flourish or compete if they are not able to hire the best candidates from around the world.

Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) and even Multinational Corporations (MNC) would find it hard to justify the expense of having to pay a migrant worker more salary just because of their age. Such situation deters businesses from having to hire bright migrant workers because of the issue with the salary.

In the event of a company hiring a migrant worker on an entry level rate, any company will not be able to justify increasing the migrant worker’s salary to an experienced worker’s rate during the extension of their visa in order to comply with the Immigration Rules, even if their performance does not warrant an increase in their salary.

Such increase in salary is potentially not in line with the relevant company pay structure which could create friction between the employees over their rates of pay.

This problem will be magnified in the future if and when the government implements their proposal of having a minimum salary of £30,000 for migrant workers. Therefore, hiring migrant workers in the future will be a lot more difficult if not impossible even for MNCs.

If you wish to read about the UK’s future skills-based immigration system, please refer to our article below:

Please do not hesitate to contact our expert team of UK immigration lawyers at  or call us on 020 7487 8370 if you have any questions about work permit and the process for obtaining one. You can access more information about us via

If you wish to find out the Home Office’s required salary, please refer to the Home Office’s code of practice via the link below:



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