There appears to be some confusion around the minimum salary level required to be paid to non-EU workers being sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) category.
From 6 April 2016 all skilled non-EU workers who have been in the UK for less than 10 years and who wish to settle permanently in the UK will need to earn at least £35,000 per year (there are some narrow exceptions). Therefore, a Tier 2 (General) migrant worker who has already extended their visa to the maximum period allowed (currently 6 years) and who would like to settle permanently in the UK will have to be paid at least £35,000 per annum, or the going rate for their job as required under the relevant Standard Occupational Classification ('SOC') Code, whichever is higher. This will not be an issue for most individuals until April 2017 as this rule, which was set out in the Home Office's February 2012 statement of intent, only applies to those who entered Tier 2 after 5 April 2011. However, it is something that employers will need to consider if they wish to retain any non-EU workers beyond 6 years.
Contrary to some reports, this does not mean that the minimum salary level for all Tier 2 (General) roles has increased from £20,800 (or the salary set out in the relevant SOC Code if higher). There is a recommendation to increase the minimum salary (to £30,000) but nothing has been decided to date.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.