The UK government has decided to raise the earning threshold for overseas workers by 50% from the 4th of April 2024 to £38,700, “encouraging businesses to look to British talent first and invest in their workforce”.

Great headline, but if you are one of over 400 registered Language Service Providers in the UK, then you will know that one size can never fit all and the translation industry will be significantly impacted by this decision.  

Many Language Service Providers in the UK operate with a balance of employing in-house translators and working with freelancers, whilst also providing job opportunities for overseas graduates looking to start their career in the UK translation industry.

Many translation and localisation projects require a native-level speaker to provide translations into languages other than English. Therefore, in order to maintain quality levels Native overseas translators are the perfect fit as it is rare for a UK citizen to have the required language skills to translate into non-English target languages.

Furthermore, there are a high number of academic institutions encouraging non-UK translators to come and study Master’s Degrees in the UK, but the Government’s decision makes it difficult for the industry to provide jobs for graduates after their studies. A salary of £38,700 for a graduate translator is far too high for LSP’s to pay if they wish to remain profitable as these costs cannot justifiably be passed on to end clients. 

The government’s decision leaves LSP’s with little choice other than to employ translators outside of the UK, meaning the positive contributions to the overall economy through tax and national insurance are lost.  

So what is the solution? Surely an industry with a global worth of $72.22 billion that is being directly negatively impacted by this decision needs to be reviewed separately and allowed dispensation? Without recognition or change we risk moving an entire industry of expertise out of the UK to huge regret, economically and intellectually.