Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We use cookies to personalise your experience; learn more in our Privacy and Cookie Policy. You can opt out of some cookies by adjusting your browser settings; see the cookie policy for details. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies.

Threshold for architects’ work visa should rise to £35,000, says government panel

Uk border brexit eu passport danny howard
  • Comment

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has said the salary threshold for non-UK architects applying for a general work visa should rise from £30,000 to £35,000

In a 278-page report, the panel largely dismissed calls for a ‘points-style’ immigration system but said salary thresholds should be reformed to reflect variations across professions.

The MAC is a Home Office-sponsored body tasked with reviewing migration policy and making recommendations. Its report is likely to inform the government’s migration bill, which is due to be introduced in March. 

Overseas architects applying for a ‘general’ type-two visa to work in the UK must currently prove they have been offered a job paying at least £30,000 a year. 

But under the changes recommended by the MAC, they would have to prove they had a job putting them in the top 75 per cent of UK-based architects by annual pay. 

The MAC cited data from the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings showing the threshold would, therefore, sit at £34,993 for architects, although this would change every year.

Under the MAC’s overall plans, all tier-two visa applicants would have to prove they would be part of the best-paid 75 per cent of their particular profession. This would mean the £30,000 threshold would be reduced for some jobs and increased for others. 

RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance slammed the MAC for ‘fundamentally misunderstand[ing] the architecture profession’.

‘Increasing the salary threshold to almost £35,000 will severely impact smaller practices and those outside of London keen to benefit from international skills,’ he said.

‘Ensuring that the UK continues to attract and retain global talent is absolutely critical, and sadly these proposals fall short of providing the reassurance needed.’

In its report, the MAC acknowledged that many organisations that responded to a call for evidence felt salary thresholds should not exist.

It said this was ‘understandable’ as ‘running a business is rarely easy and salary thresholds do not make the job easier’.

But it argued that ‘salary thresholds prevent undercutting in in the labour market, ensuring that employers are not hiring migrants simply because they are cheaper’.

Elsewhere in the report, the MAC said an Australian-style points system could be implemented for the award of tier one ‘exceptional talent’ visas.

At the moment architects can qualify for a tier-one visa – in which applicants do not need to have a job lined up to gain entry to the UK – by passing two of three standards: having had significant media coverage in another country; winning an international award; and demonstrating an audience through an international exhibition or appearance. 

At present, non-UK architects from the EU still have the unrestricted right to work in the UK, though this is likely to change following the end of the transition period at the end of the year.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

Discover architecture career opportunities. Search and apply online for your dream job.
Find out more