UK Work Visa Rule change: migrant worker must earn £35,000 or more by next April 2016

Migrants with UK work visas will have to earn at least £35,000 or more to be able to apply to stay in the UK as permanent resident after April 6, 2016.

UK Visa Application

Immigrants with Tier 2 work visas will only be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (also called permanent residence) if they meet the threshold of the £35,000 annual salary.


The new rules targets migrants under the Tier 2 (General) visa category and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa categories having stayed five years in the UK, and applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The £35,000 earning requirement will not apply to anyone in an occupation that is on the shortage occupation list or to scientists and researchers in PhD level occupations.


Migrants who do not meet the new minimum income threshold now have less than 12 months until the new immigration rules come into force to find a solution if they want to continue to work in the UK. Tier 2 migrants paid below £35,000 applying for ILR after April 2016 will need to either find another visa with which to stay in the UK.

Workers who are not earning enough to apply for settlement will be allowed to stay in the UK for six years in total. They will then be required to leave the UK. They won’t be able to apply for another Tier 2 visa until they have competed a 12 month ‘cooling off’ period outside the UK.  Source: UK Parliament Research Briefings.

Sectors that will suffer most from the new rule are education and healthcare. It is expected that the number of non-European Union/EEA nationals and their dependants granted permanent residence each year will be reduced from 60,000 to 20,000 with this new measure ; and that around 16% of Tier 2 migrants would no longer qualify for permanent settlement due to the salary threshold.

The Royal College of Nursing has warned that up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK may have to leave the UK due to the salary requirement.

This measure will not apply to

  • People who have/had a Tier 2 (General) visa to do a job on the shortage occupation list, or to do specified PhD level jobs in science or research.
  • People who have a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or (Intra-Company Transfer) visa.

If you are on a Tier 2 visa and would like assistance applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), Migreat can connect you with a solicitor/lawyer who is an expert on immigration by visiting this page dedicated to ILR applications.

39 thoughts on “UK Work Visa Rule change: migrant worker must earn £35,000 or more by next April 2016”

  1. I’m a bit confused on how this applies. Do we need to be on or above £35K by the time we apply ILR or Do we have to have £35K on all your Tier-2 period?


  2. Do I have to earn 35000 throughout the period of tier 2 permit or just at the time of application after April 2016


  3. Can you please advise, my husband is here on spouse visa, up for renewal October 2016. I’m on DLA how does the new ruling effect us ?
    Thank you
    K Tamba


  4. Hi,
    How about those applying before april 2016? Do they still would be on an old threshold of £22,800/ annum ? And do they have to earn £35k from next year or its just who applies after april 2016 ??



  5. Hi
    I want to do job and want to live permanently there… please advice me…
    I’m student of Msc mass communication..


    1. Hi Helmi, as said in the article: “The new rules targets migrants under the Tier 2 (General) visa category and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa categories having stayed five years in the UK, and applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The £35,000 earning requirement will not apply to anyone working in a job that is on the shortage occupation list or to scientists and researchers in PhD level occupations.”


  6. Hi I came here 2009 and visa finished 28april 2011 .there is visa between .ahain I got visa 12 July 2011 . Then apply ILR 2014 as continuity From 2009. -2014 .it refused because previous employer conceal my permit .i did not know about it .thats why applied . Now I am waiting June 2016 Continue with new job . When I start new job I had£20000 per annum and still. I am working same wages .in that siutation what can I do please give me right information ?i am a Indian tandoori chef .many thanks


  7. Hi, I intend to apply for my wife as spouse settlement visa. I am currently working it a ‘on-going’ duration. I was wondering does it have to be ‘PERMANENT’ or is this sufficient. I would appreciate it if you could help.


  8. hi, please advice me, i have stayed without visa for seven years, met my EU wife, had a son, and was granted a five years dependant visa, Does the new law coming april applies to me, and if yes, how can you help me please.


  9. Hi, Im on 33,000 but on 36 hours contract. But for ILR next year, the minimum salary is 35,000. can i pro rate to 39 hours as per SOC code or i have to increase my salary regardless of working hours?


  10. Hi
    Please I am a Mechanical Engineer currently working in the oil and gas sector and within the shortage occupation list (Tier 2 Visa). I joined my company around July 2013 and I am looking to extend my Visa under the same employer. But, my challenge is the new immigration rule (November 2015) 2122 Mechanical engineers, which clearly stated new entrant must earn £27,400 and experienced workers £32,900.

    Please does this rule hinder / affect me from extending my visa with the same employer even when I was employed under a different rule?. Thank you


  11. I am having my 10 years completed on 6th September 2016 and i am on Business visa right now.

    My Tier 1 expire on 28 May 2016, and 10 years completing in September.

    I have my own firm and harldy business working right now.

    What should i do? please advise and I will be great full



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