The Government announced a new plan this week to tighten regulations for migrants coming to the UK. It is expected to take effect from Spring 2024. The changes will have a significant impact on sponsors (employers), migrant workers, family visas, and student visas.
The new measures include:
- Family visa: A British or settled person in the UK will need to earn at least £38,700 per annum in order for them to bring their spouse or partner to the UK. The minimum income requirement jumps over double from current £18,600.
The government has tried to calm the public reaction by saying that cash savings can be used to make up the deficit in earning. Under the current rule, you need to have £62,500 cash savings (excluding any property and investment) if you do not or cannot prove sustainable incomes. When the new £38,700 comes into effect, and under the same formula, the applicant family needs to have £ 112,750 cash saving in their accounts. It is questionable how many families in the UK have that amount of cash in their accounts.
In short, if you are not earning £38,700 or have enough cash savings, your chance to bring your spouse to the UK is slim from next year.
- Skilled worker visa: the minimum salary threshold for skilled worker visas (excluding health and care visa) will increase from current £26,200 to £38,700 per annum. The government aims, through this measure, to incentivise employers to hire and invest in the domestic workforce instead of bringing in migrant workers. The problem is whether the domestic workforce is willing and able to do the jobs that are currently being filled by overseas nationals such as in the care sector!
- Health and care visa: health and care workers will no longer be able to bring their family to the UK. The government said, “we recognise that foreign workers do great work in our NHS and health sector”, but your family is not welcome.
- Shortage occupation list will be scrapped. The current 20% lower salary threshold for migrant workers in shortage occupations will be abolished. The government said it will create a new immigration salary list.
- Graduate visa route will be reviewed to prevent abuse, said by the government. It could mean that it may be abolished or attach additional requirements.
Other measures that are coming into effect in 2024:
- Dependants of Student: only dependants of Student visa holders who are on postgraduate research-based programmes or above can bring their family with them. Bachelor’s degree students or postgraduate students on taught courses will not be able to bring their family from 01 January 2024.
- Immigration Healthcare Surcharge will increase by 66% from current £624 to £1,035 per person per year of their stay, including dependants. The government said that it will raise around £1.3 billion for the health services every year.
The Home Secretary said the new measures would mean that around 300,000 fewer people would come to the UK in future years than came last year.
In order to discus your immigration plans and start planning ahead feel free to contact our immigration solicitors to guide and advise you on your options on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02079036888.