changes to immigration ruling

Changes to Immigration Rules for Family and Work Visas in 2024

Changes to Immigration Rules for Family and Work Visas in 2024

There are upcoming changes to the immigration rules for family and work visas in 2024 that employers need to be aware of. The Government believe that immigration in the UK is too high. Recently published figures showed that 300,000 of the 745,000 immigrants who moved to the UK last year would not have been able to come if the new changes were already in place.

James Cleverly, Home Secretary, announced on 4th December 2023 the future changes to visa rules and introduced a ‘Five Point Plan’ intending to reduce immigration.

The five changes to immigration rules

  1. Social care workers will not be allowed to bring dependants (partners and children) on their visas.
  2. The baseline minimum salary to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa will rise from £26,200 to £38,700 (excluding Health and Care Worker visas, which includes social care, or for education workers on national pay scales). It is important to note that those already in the Skilled Worker route, and applications made before the rules changes will not be subject to this new salary threshold when they change employment, extend, or settle.
  3. Changes to the shortage occupation list which will significantly reduce the number of jobs where it will be possible to sponsor overseas workers below the baseline minimum salary (which is the main purpose of the list).
  4. The minimum income normally required to sponsor someone for a spouse/partner visa will rise in stages from £18,600 to £29,000 and ultimately around £38,700.
  5. The Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa which is a two-year unsponsored work permit for overseas graduates of British universities.

The Home Secretary hinted that the changes would come into force in ‘spring’ however the timelines are different for different measures.

Timeline for the different measures

  1. From 11th March 2024, any newly arriving care workers will no longer be allowed to bring in family members.
  2. On 4th April 2024 the skilled worker minimum salary will increase.
  3. From April 2024 (very likely 4th April) there will be initial changes to the shortage occupation list.
  4. Spouse/partner visa minimum income will increase to £29,000 on 11th April 2024, then increase to £34,5000 later in 2024, and finally increase to £38,700 by early 2025.
  5. There will be a Graduate visa review taking place in 2024, the committee is expect to report on this later in 2024.

Spouse/Partner Visa

Currently, a British or settled person can sponsor a partner if they meet the financial requirements and demonstrate earnings of £18,600. Or, alternatively if they have cash savings held for 6 months of £62,500. This level of income enables many British or settled people to open avenues to sponsor a partner. However, the changes will mean that their annual income will need to be £38,700 by the end of the full rollout.

This could mean that an employee you have at the moment may not be able to bring their partner into the UK in the future. This could result in them deciding to leave to either return to their country of origin, another country, or another employer who is offering more money. Not to also mention the stress it could cause on a family which may impact employee productivity.

However the Home Office announced in December last year that the threshold will only apply to first-time applicants of the sponsor/partner visa. They stated, “Those who already have a family visa within the fire-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold”.

The rules for immigrants already on the pathway differ slightly. Our HR Consultants at HPC are here to support you in navigating the new rules surrounding immigration.

If you employ anyone who this may affect or have any questions about the new immigration ruling, get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037

E: contact@hpc.uk.com

LinkedIn: High Performance Consultancy

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