Applicants with a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the role for which sponsorship is required will benefit from a more lenient minimum salary requirement when applying for permission on the Skilled Worker route.
Skilled Worker route – tradeable points
Applicants under the Skilled Worker route require 50 mandatory points to be eligible for permission to enter or stay, which are obtained by meeting the sponsorship, skill level and English language criterion.
A further 20 tradeable points must be awarded for meeting the salary requirement. The minimum salary a Skilled Worker needs to be paid for their role will differ, depending on the applicant’s circumstances. There are six ways (options A – F) in which the salary requirement can be met.
The ‘standard’ position under Option A is that an applicant’s salary will need to equal or exceed all of the following:
- £25,600 per year;
- £10.10 per hour; and
- the going rate for the occupation code.
However, applicants with a relevant PhD in a STEM subject can be awarded 20 points for meeting the conditions of Option C, under which the salary must equal to or exceed all of the following:
- £20,480 per year;
- £10.10 per hour; and
- 80% of the going rate for the occupation code.
Therefore, those with a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job will benefit from a lower minimum salary threshold compared to those with a PhD relevant to the job that is not in a STEM subject under Option B and significantly less than the ‘standard’ Option A.
Who qualifies under Option C?
An applicant must be sponsored for a job in an appropriate occupation code listed as being ‘eligible for PhD points’ in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations. The qualification in question must be in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics subject relevant to the job that the applicant will be performing.
The applicant must have a relevant UK PhD or other academic doctoral qualification in a STEM subject or an overseas academic qualification confirmed by ECCTIS as meeting the recognised standards of a UK PhD in a STEM subject.
The applicant’s sponsor must provide a credible explanation when assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the applicant of how their qualification is relevant to the job for which they are being sponsored and confirmation that the qualification is in fact in a STEM subject will also be required.
Where a credible explanation is not provided points will not be awarded under this category and the application will be refused if the general minimum salary requirement cannot be met. It is therefore important to consider carefully how the PhD in a STEM subject is relevant to the role for which sponsorship is required and ensure that a credible explanation is provided in order to benefit from tradeable points under this category.
What evidence must be provided?
Evidence of the relevant qualification must be provided by the applicant when they make their initial application under the Skilled Worker route. Where the applicant is correctly awarded points in this category, they do not need to provide evidence of their qualifications in any subsequent application. However, the sponsor is required to provide a credible explanation in any subsequent applications for permission to stay made by the applicant, where Option C is still relied on to earn tradeable points.
How our immigration solicitors can help
We are experienced in advising both employers and individuals in relation to the minimum salary requirement and should you require any further information about this or any other aspect of sponsorship, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.