Tier 2: Reductions
in Salary

When is it acceptable to reduce a Tier 2 migrant’s salary to a lower rate than that stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship?

The Home Office recognises that a migrant’s employment circumstances can change and, as a consequence, their remuneration may need to be altered. Within the current guidance for sponsors, provision is therefore made to enable employers to adjust the salary awarded to a sponsored migrant, albeit under strict conditions.

Most importantly, any new rate of pay must continue to meet the appropriate rate requirements. The current minimum gross salary (including any guaranteed bonuses and/or permitted allowances) that a Tier 2 (General) migrant must receive is £30,000 per year* or the appropriate rate of pay for the job as stated in the codes of practice. The minimum Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) salary thresholds are £41,500 for long term staff and £23,000 for graduate trainees. If a sponsor seeks to pay a sponsored migrant below these rates, they will forfeit the right to continue to sponsor them.

Exceptions to this rule

Over time, the Home Office has modified its guidance to incorporate exceptions to this rule. Reductions in a migrant’s salary taking it below the current appropriate rate requirement are therefore now possible in the following circumstances:

  • Where a migrant is required to undertake professional examinations to assess whether their skills meet UK standards before starting work. For example, where the passing of a Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) examination is a regulatory requirement of the role;
  • Where the reduction is due to the migrant taking a period of maternity leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave;
  • When a migrant is on long-term sick leave for more than one continuous calendar month;
  • Where a doctor is taking (up to six months) authorised unpaid leave to assist in the Ebola crisis; and
  • Where the salary paid to a Tier 2 (ICT) migrant has been reduced due to them not being physically present in the UK.

An employer is not permitted to continue to sponsor a migrant who is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more in total, other than for the reasons listed above.

Therefore, if a sponsored migrant wishes to take a long period of unpaid leave, for example a sabbatical, the employer must cease their sponsorship of the migrant and report the change in circumstances to the Home Office via the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

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*some exclusions apply

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