Skilled Workers

The points-based system will provide simple, effective and flexible arrangements for skilled workers from around the world to come to the UK through an employer-led system. All applicants, both EU and non-EU citizens, will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor, that the job offer is at the required skill level, and that they speak English. In addition to this, if the applicant earns more than the minimum salary threshold then the individual would be eligible to make an application. However, if they earn less than the required minimum salary threshold, but no less than £20,480, they may still be able to come if they can demonstrate that they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation, as designated by the MAC, or that they have a PhD relevant to the job. In effect, applicants will be able to ‘trade’ characteristics such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a salary lower than the minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ in their field.

Characteristics Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor No 20
Job at appropriate skill level No 20
Speaks English at required level No 10
Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039 Yes 0
Salary of £23,040 – £25,599 Yes 10
Salary of £25,600 or above Yes 20
Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC) Yes 20
Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job Yes 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Yes 20

A total of 70 points is required to be eligible to apply; some characteristics are tradeable.

  1. For example, a university researcher in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subject wishing to come to the UK on a salary of £22,000, (which is below the general minimum salary threshold), may still be able to enter the UK if they have a relevant PhD in a STEM subject. Likewise, a nurse wishing to come to the UK on a salary of £22,000 would still be able to enter the UK on the basis that the individual would be working in a shortage occupation, provided it continues to be designated in shortage by the MAC.
  2. The MAC will be commissioned to produce a shortage occupation list covering all jobs encompassed by the skilled worker route and to keep the list under regular review. Allocating extra points for occupations that the MAC determines to be in shortage in the UK will provide immediate temporary relief for shortage areas, making it easier to recruit migrants. However, they expect employers to take other measures to address shortages and the MAC will look at this when they review whether an occupation is still in shortage.
  3. It is also important to recognize that in some higher paid occupations, the ‘going rate’ will be above the general salary threshold. Migrants will still be awarded points for holding a relevant PhD or if the occupation is in shortage, which they will be able to trade against a salary lower than the ‘going rate’: 10% lower if they have a relevant PhD in a non-STEM subject; 20% lower if they have a relevant PhD in a STEM subject; or 20% lower if the occupation is designated in shortage by the MAC. In line with the MAC’s advice, there will continue to be reduced salary requirements for new entrants to the labour market.
  4. The Home Office will publish further detail on the points-based system in due course, including detailed guidance regarding the points tables, shortage occupations and qualifications. As now, skilled workers will be able to be accompanied by their dependents.
  5. The scheme will be implemented from January 2021. This is just the first stage in our plans for a points-based system. The Home Office will continue to refine the system in the light of experience and will consider adding further flexibility into the system including additional attributes that can be ‘traded’ against a lower salary. For example, this might include a greater range of qualification levels or other factors such as age or experience studying in the UK. However, they need to guard against making the system too complex.