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National Minimum Wage rates rise this month but are you being paid the correct rate? | Immigration Matters

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The National Minimum Wage (NMW), the minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid, has risen to £6.08 from 1 October 2011, but not all workers actually receive the legal minimum wage.

Current NMW rates, which depend on your age and whether you are an apprentice, are:

£6.08 – the main rate for workers aged 21 and over 

£4.98 – the 18-20 rate

£3.68 – the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18

£2.60 – the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

If you are of compulsory school age you are not entitled to the NMW. Some of your other employment rights are also different.

The NMW applies to all workers whether or not they are resident, EU, worker permit holders or international students on Tier 4 student visas. However, not all businesses employing migrant workers abide by the law.

Immigration Matters has received reports of Bulgarian and Romanian workers, who are subject to work restrictions, being paid as little as £3.50 per hour by employers who are exploiting their lack of legal papers such as a yellow card.

Employers also get around the law by ’employing’ the only EU members who do not have ‘free movement of labour’ rights on a ‘self employed basis’, even though they are really employees working as waiters and chefs.

Non-EU illegal workers are in an even worse position being unable to complain for fear of losing their jobs. At least Bulgarians and Romanians have other options such as a study work yellow card and a vocational course (e.g. and NVQ or QCF in Health and Social Care or Customer Service) which allows full time hours.

Despite the risk of a £10,000 civil penalty employers continue to flout the law and exploit migrants.

See also:

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

Free Movement of EU nationals explained

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards

Health care workers needed in UK now – Bulgarian and Romanian citizens wanted by employers

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

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3 Responses to “National Minimum Wage rates rise this month but are you being paid the correct rate?”
Read them below or add one

  1. victoria Lucina says :

    Hi Cynthia,Im a work permit holder,but Im receiving only 6.15 my problem is soon I will be apllying for my ILR on Jan. what I suppose to do,because my employer refuse to give me consideration.Is it my legal rights to be paid the minimum 7.02 rate as required by immigration law?Thank u ,dont publis my name please..edvic..

  2. Marion says :

    Hi Cynthia, Charles & Team immigration matters

    Thank you for keeping us up to date with the latest in immigration changes. God bless.

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