The Home Office recently added an addendum to Appendix J: Codes of Practice for Tier 2 Sponsors, Tier 5 Sponsors, and Employers of Work Permit Holders.

Many sponsors would have seen on the welcome screen of their Sponsorship Management System (SMS) that the hours taken into account for medical roles under SOC code 2211 should be 40 and not 39 (published in July 2013). The Home Office has therefore now added further clarification on the hours for certain roles.

Where other salary sources are used, the rates are based on the following weekly hours:

  • where the source is NHS Agenda for Change or the Royal Institute of British Architects, a 37.5-hour week;
  • where the source is teachers' national pay scales, on the definition of a full-time teacher as used when determining those pay scales;
  • where the source is the National Grid submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, a 37-hour week; and
  • in all other cases, a 40-hour week.

The rates are based on a 39-hour working week for all occupations where the salary source used is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2011. For the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2011, please click here.

It is very important for sponsors, who wish to sponsor migrants under the SOC Codes which have been affected, to be aware of these changes as the change to weekly hours affects both the salary and the minimum appropriate rate required for certain roles. For example, an employer pays his employee an annual package of £30,000, which is at the minimum appropriate rate of the selected SOC Code based on 39-hour week. However, the weekly hours required of the employee are 40 hours per week rather than 39 hours per week as per the SOC Code; and, as such, the salary of £30,000 would not be sufficient since longer hours would decrease the hourly rate and demand a higher salary.

If a lower salary is stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship than is required by Appendix J, a migrant's application for leave will be refused. In addition, offering or paying a migrant worker a salary lower than the minimum appropriate rate will affect a sponsor’s licence as part of a sponsor's duties is to comply with the Immigration Rules. For Tier 2 sponsors, one of the requirements is that employees are paid at or above the rates stated in Appendix J.

It is therefore vital that, as part of complying with sponsor duties, sponsors are aware of any changes to the salary rates which may affect their migrant workers.