Empowering the Freelance Economy

UK Tightens Immigration Rules: Minimum Salary Threshold for Skilled Worker Visas Hits £40,000

In a significant move to curb immigration, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has agreed to raise the minimum salary threshold for foreign skilled worker visas from £26,000 to £40,000. This substantial increase is expected to have an impact on freelancers and others such as contractors seeking to work in the UK.

The decision comes as part of a four-point plan devised by Sunak and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman to address migration concerns. The plan also includes removing graduate visas, reducing the number of dependents legal migrants can bring with them, and prioritising applicants to Russell Group universities for student visas.

The hike in the minimum salary threshold is likely to make it significantly more challenging for non-British freelancers looking to secure skilled worker visas. Many freelancers operate in fields where salaries may not reach the £40,000 mark, potentially excluding them from working in the UK.

Nothing has been set in stone, however, according to news reports, this development has been in the making for some time.

This development could have a ripple effect on the UK’s tech and creative industries, which rely heavily on the expertise and contributions of freelancers. These individuals often bring fresh perspectives, skills, and innovation to the workforce, contributing to the UK’s economic growth and global competitiveness.

Less competition from candidates who undercut British freelancers on rates could be welcome news for some British freelancers who are already struggling financially due to challenges from IR35 and the cost of living crisis.

Companies will also be impacted by increased costs. Higher salary thresholds could increase the cost of doing business for British businesses. This could lead to some businesses cutting back on their use of freelancers, or even moving their operations overseas.

Other concerns could include reduced opportunities for entry-level freelancers. For example, higher salary thresholds could make it more difficult for new freelancers to enter the UK market, as they may not be able to command the same rates as more experienced freelancers.

What are your visa options?

Freelancers and entrepreneurs who aspire to work or launch a business in the UK may need to consider alternative visa options.

Unlike other markets in Europe, the UK does not offer a specific Digital Nomad Visa. However, there are a few options available for individuals who want to live and work remotely in the UK. There are temporary worker visas

Visitors Visa:

If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you may be able to enter the UK on a Visitor’s Visa. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months, and you can work remotely during your stay. However, you will not be able to access UK public funds or receive any benefits from the UK government.

Skilled Worker Visa:

If you are a skilled worker from a qualifying country, you may be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa. This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years. You must have a job offer from a UK-based employer that meets the minimum salary requirement.

Innovator Founder Visa

If you are a founder or co-founder of an innovative start-up business, you may be eligible for an Innovator Founder Visa. The start-up visa is no longer accepting applications as of July 2023.

Aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world can leverage the UK Innovator visa to establish or advance their business ventures in the UK for up to three years. However, gaining endorsement from an accredited UK organization is essential for your novel business concept.

Your business plan and idea will undergo rigorous evaluation and a comprehensive assessment process to ensure their viability and potential impact.

Global Talent Visa:

If you are a leader or highly skilled professional in a particular field, you may be eligible for a Global Talent Visa. This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years. You must be endorsed by a designated endorsing body in your field.

In addition to the visa requirements, you will also need to consider the following:

Tax residency: If you spend more than 183 days (6 months) in the UK in a tax year, you will be considered a UK tax resident and will be liable to pay UK taxes on your worldwide income.

National Insurance: If you are working remotely for a UK company, you may still be liable to pay National Insurance contributions.

Healthcare: If you are staying in the UK for more than 6 months, you will need to arrange private health insurance.

The impact of higher salary thresholds for skilled workers such as freelancers and startup founders is likely to be mixed. We welcome your thoughts.

  1. Tanveer says

    fresh doctor salary is usually less than 40000 pound. will UK not have no fresh doctor in future. I passed plab 2 and waiting for job offer. it means my money, effort and time all waisted

  2. Bash says

    utter stupidity, its just the election coming and they want to get tye vote of natives. they their self know that what they doing is very wrong for economy of the country.
    Still dont understand whats the problem they saying about immigration, people already here not getting opportunity. if they dont want to work and just want to sit home, whats the point of giving opportunity for them. Atleast migrants working and paying tax. which government is using to pay benefits.

  3. Mary says

    I can’t find enough words to express how disappointing are Rishi Sunak’s ideas. If UK wants to get rid of hard working intelligent people who work legally in this country upon works kills visas then this country is on the best skilled-working visa they are on the best way to do so. I have impression that Rishi Sunak can’t see the differences between hard working people upon skilled working visas and illegal immigrants from the boats.
    People on the visas pay taxes, contribute to prosperity of this country, do not commit any crimes, we are scanned against any terrorist acts, we are examined within our English language skills and we have to pay a big amounts of application visas fees and health surcharge. Plus we’re not allowed to apply for any public funds like universal credit, child support or any other help at all.
    I can’t see how on earth the nurses and doctors who are lacking in this country will be welcomed from other countries if the minimum thresholds would be 40,000 pounds per year.
    I’m pretty sure that the majority of people will be looking for another destinations like Ireland, Australia, United States or Canada where people can live without such obstacles and formalities.
    UK offer is laughable and I’m pretty sure that it will lead this country to becoming a third world country in another in another decade. UK doesn’t have any colonies and and is not part of European Union anymore.

    Therefore you should decide whether you want immigrants who put significant contribution to your prosperity and welcome all these who are well educated and decent people and just don’t make so many obstacles. And on the other hand finish with illegal immigrants from countries whose refugees and asylum seekers mostly rely on public funds and very often do not work. Something is not right here

  4. Paul says

    I don’t think PM’ parents had to pay cosmic amount of money to come to this country and make sure they have secured a job with £40 k pa. This idea is great to flush UK and make it backward country. No expat nurses, doctors, carers, pa, secretaries, it, students, teachers, scientists, academic teachers, etc.
    No grants for Universities, no funds from EU, no EU workers. Can anyone see where this madness is going??!

  5. Henry says

    Really unrealistic approach.. SMH

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