Recognised shortage occupations are exempt from the £35,000 threshold as are PhD level roles. In other cases the Government believes that it is reasonable to require Tier 2 skilled migrants to earn a minimum of £35,000 to be eligible to settle in the UK. Tier 2 workers are in graduate-level roles, and £35,000 reflects the 2011 median pay for UK workers in skilled jobs which qualified for Tier 2.
Employers and visa holders have had time to prepare. The previous Government announced in 2012 that, from 6 April 2016, Tier 2 visa holders who applied for settlement in the UK would be required to meet the £35,000 threshold. The Home Office published a full impact assessment on proposed changes to Tier 2 settlement rules when they were laid before Parliament on 15 March 2012. This is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/117957/impact-assessment-tier2.pdf.’
Skills are a devolved matter. In England we are supporting 3 million more apprenticeships in this Parliament, including degree apprenticeships and more at the higher levels. We are also focussing on the higher level skills employers demand by introducing ground breaking reforms to technical and professional education to support sectors where there are recognised skills gaps, and establishing national colleges to deliver high level specialist vocational skills.