Minimum salary rates for Tier 2 visas

  • Minimum salary rates for Tier 2 visas

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

    An experienced worker is defined as being:

    • when the employee is aged 26 or over on the date they apply for their Tier 2 visa; or
    • when the employee is 25 or under on the date they apply for their visa and their contract is for more than 3 years and 1 month, or is expected to be.

    From 6 April 2017, the minimum salary rate for 'new entrants' is £20,800, and for 'experienced workers' is £30,000 which is salary point 27 and above on the University pay spine, therefore effectively a minimum of Grade 8. This represents the absolute minimum salary an individual must receive in order to be eligible for a Tier 2 visa. For pro-rata appointments, please contact HR Recruitment Team for further advice.

    The minimum salary criteria is now one of the most complex areas in Tier 2. This Tier 2 minimum salary requirements flowchart will assist you in determining which minimum salary level will apply. Contact for further guidance.

    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 Assistant through Tier 2 (SOC code 2119). As the SOC code minimum is £29,000, 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 £33,000, and the absolute minimum is £30,000, they must be paid at or above the SOC code minimum of £33,000

    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:
    • Post-doctoral Research Assistant
    • Visiting researcher
    • Research Fellow
    £22,300 £27,000
    2112 Biological Scientists and Biochemists £22,300 £29,000
    2113 Physical Scientists £22,300 £29,000
    2119 Natural and Social Science Professionals not elsewhere classified £22,300 £29,000
    2150 Research and Development Managers Director of Research £30,000 £37,000
    2311 Higher Education Teaching Professionals
    • University Lecturer
    • Reader
    • Professor
    £26,500 £33,000

    Research Assistants and the 'Experienced' rate

    There is a potential problem when appointing Post-doctoral Research Assistants (grade 7) who are classed as 'experienced' workers through Tier 2. This is because the top point of the Grade 7 salary scale is below the minimum £30,000 'experienced worker' rate.

    NB appointing into the ACE points range of a Grade is not acceptable to the Home Office.

    For Post-doctoral 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 it can be demonstrated that all of the following are essential requirements of the Post-doctoral Research Assistant role and therefore, the role can be advertised from the onset as grade 8:

    • Accountability for coaching/mentoring of PhD students.
    • Assisting as named author in publication of research, where the quality could be RAE returnable.
    • Formal responsibility to teach as part of the curriculum.

    The decision about the exact responsibilities of the Post-doctoral Research Assistant role and therefore, its grade should be made prior to advertising as a subsequent regrading to engineer a higher salary is not acceptable to the Home Office.There is a potential and very specific exemption for applicants who are currently 26 or over and currently on a Tier 4 visa and in that event Human Resources will advise if a salary below £30,000 is permitted.