The UK’s Department for Education has announced proposals to increase the minimum salaries for teachers to £30,000 (R541,845) a year.
South African teachers are increasingly recruited to full teacher shortages around the world, who in turn are presented with an opportunity to travel, improve their career development, and earn better wages.
According to immigration consultant Breytenbachs, the announcement by the UK education department is good news for South African teachers with a number of education jobs currently on the UK’s shortage occupation list (SOL).
“Secondary education teachers in the subjects of maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and Mandarin are covered by the SOL provisions,” it said.
“Tier 2 job titles on the Tier 2 SOL, makes it easier for applicants to apply, qualify and settle in the UK. The employer also benefits as they do not need to do a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT).”
Breytenbachs said that if a job title is on the SOL at any point during the five years leading to settlement in the UK, the person does not have to fulfil the Minimum Income Threshold attached to the application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
This minimum income threshold is currently at £35,800 per annum and set to increase in April of each year until April 2024.
What can teachers expect to earn in the UK?
Breytenbachs said that the salary requirements for secondary school teachers under the Tier 2 migrant route Shortage Occupation Code are as follows:
- Unqualified teachers and equivalent: £20,800 (R380,800)
- Qualified teachers and equivalent: £22,243 (R407,200)
- Post-threshold teachers and equivalent: £35,217 (R644,800)
- Leadership group, assistant head teacher and equivalent: £38,597 (R706,650)
- Principal teacher and equivalent: £43,664 (R800,000)
The above does not take into account the £30,000 minimum salary that is usually required from a Tier 2 migrant, Breytenbachs said.
“If the Tier 2 migrant is 26 years or over and not switching from a Tier 4 student visa, then they have to be paid at least £30,000 if they fall under the unqualified teachers or qualified teachers and equivalent categories, or the relevant rate, if that is a higher figure,” it said.
“Persons under 26 years, can be paid the rates as they are listed above, or if they are switching from a Tier 4 student visa route having successfully completed all aspects of a bachelors or masters degree or 12 months towards a PhD.”
According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council, teacher salaries vary broadly in South Africa, between R115,500 – and R993,500. This is typically dependent on experience, private vs public schools wages, and seniority.
An April report from relocation company CapRelo, showed that local teachers earn an average of $19,452 (R273,209) annually – far less than the global average of $27,175.