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Seasonal Workers must now be paid at Skilled Worker rates


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At the moment, everyone on a Seasonal Worker visa must be paid minimum wage. That means £9.50 an hour for people over 23 (the “National Living Wage”), a bit less for 21-22 year olds, and £6.83 for those aged 18 to 20.

From 6 April 2022, they must instead be paid at Skilled Worker rates. Official guidance says:

For any worker you sponsor on the Seasonal Worker route who will be making their application for entry clearance on or after 6 April 2022, you must confirm the applicant will be paid at least £10.10 for each hour they work.

This rate is in line with the Skilled Worker minimum hourly pay requirement.

The Immigration Rules are being changed to reflect this. Paragraph SAW 4.1 will, from 6 April, read:

The applicant must have a Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they are planning to do, which must… (g) confirm the applicant will be paid at least £10.10 for each hour worked.

This is quite a surprising development given that Seasonal Worker was originally designed to provide temporary visas to lower-skilled agricultural workers. Paying lower salaries was an attractive feature for employers. Bringing the Seasonal Worker minimum salary into line with Skilled Worker blurs the distinction between the two, especially as it was already possible to sponsor “managers and proprietors in agriculture and horticulture” (Code 1211) and those in “horticultural trades” (Code 5112) under the latter route.

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Pip Hague

Pip Hague is a Senior Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin.