New Immigration Salary List Replaces UK Shortage Occupation List

New Immigration Salary List Replaces UK Shortage Occupation List


The UK has introduced a new Immigration Salary List (ISL), replacing the Shortage Occupation List under the visa sponsorship system with effect from 4 April 2024.

This new list remains overseen by the Home Office, and specifies the occupations that are eligible under the Skilled Worker Visa and Health and Care Worker Visa with a reduced general salary threshold. Occupations on the ISL are subject to a minimum salary of 80% of the usual rates for these visas.

The ISL specifies both standard and lower salary rates and uses the SOC 2020 coding system. For Skilled Worker Visa holders, the minimum pay is either £30,960 or the standard ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher. Health and Care Visa roles must pay at least £23,200 annually or the job’s lower going rate, whichever is higher.

Specific occupation codes, like laboratory technicians and senior care workers, are also eligible under the lower salary threshold on the ISL.


How the Immigration Salary List Differs from the Shortage Occupation List


The Shortage Occupation List previously functioned as a directory of occupations deemed to have a lack of qualified domestic applicants. Employers sponsoring overseas workers in SOL roles benefited from a 20% discount on the minimum salary threshold. However, concerns arose regarding the potential exploitation of foreign workers and the undercutting of domestic wages.

The ISL takes a different approach, prioritizing salary over scarcity. It features a comprehensive list of occupations where employers can sponsor overseas workers under the Skilled Worker visa route. However, the emphasis falls on minimum wage levels.

The ISL outlines two key salary figures for each listed occupation. The standard rate, which is the general minimum salary threshold for the specific occupation under the Skilled Worker visa. It typically corresponds to the 25th percentile (median) of eligible occupations.

The Lower Rate is a reduced salary threshold available only for occupations on the ISL. It generally sits around 20% below the standard rate.


Impact of the Changes


Employers seeking to sponsor overseas skilled workers must now ensure the offered salary meets one of the two thresholds listed on the ISL for the specific occupation. Applicants must be paid the higher of the two figures: the ISL threshold (standard or lower) or the specified ‘going rate’ for the role.

The government has stated it will conduct a full review of the ISL later in 2024.


The full list is available on the official government website.



Gill Laing is a qualified Legal Researcher & Analyst with niche specialisms in Law, Tax, Human Resources, Immigration & Employment Law.

Gill is a Multiple Business Owner and the Managing Director of Prof Services - a Marketing & Content Agency for the Professional Services Sector.

Legal disclaimer


The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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