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UK Immigration Rules – Statement of Changes

Published 12 April 2024

The new Statement of Changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules was published by UK Visas and Immigration on 14th March 2024, the second of these to be released so far, as part of the Government’s plans to reduce net migration and minimise abuse of the immigration system.

Many of these changes reference the Skilled Worker route, however, updates were made to salary requirements for other work routes and changes to minimum income requirements under partner routes.

Skilled Worker Route Changes

Changes made to the Skilled Worker route are aiming to encourage businesses to utilise local workforces rather than overly relying on migration to enhance their labour force.

These changes will make it more expensive for employers to hire workers from overseas unless they qualify for one of the limited exceptions.

What will this mean?

A likely reduction in the number of immigrant workers an employer can sponsor, and a potential increase in positions continuing to be unfilled in the UK labour market.

Increased general salary and ‘going rates’

Sponsor Licence holders must pay Skilled Workers at least a general salary threshold or the ‘going rate’ for the individual occupation, whichever is higher.

Effective from 4th April 2024, this general salary will be increasing from £26,200 to £38,700.

Going rates are also being raised from the 25th percentile to a median based on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) pay data.

New Salary Requirements for Health and Care Workers

Health and Care visa workers are exempt from new salary requirements.

Instead, a general threshold continues to apply and is being increased from £26,200 to £29,000, based on the latest ONS pay data.

New Immigration Salary List

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is being replaced with the new Immigration Salary List (ISL).

Contents of this new list have been reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and will be subject to further review later in the year.

As with the previous list, any included occupations have a 20% discount to the general salary threshold to £30,960 or £23,200, depending on whether they would otherwise be subject to the £38,700 or £29,000 threshold.

The previous 20% discount to the going rate requirement is being removed.

New salary requirements for other work routes

The salary criteria for various work routes are being adjusted to align with the latest ONS pay statistics:

  • The standard salary threshold for the Senior or Specialist Worker (Global Business Mobility) route is being raised from £45,800 to £48,500.
  • For the Graduate Trainee (Global Business Mobility) routes, the general salary threshold is increasing from £24,220 to £25,410.
  • Under the Scale-up route, the general salary threshold will see an uptick from £34,600 to £36,300.
  • Notably, certain poultry workers within the Seasonal Workers route, whose pay must comply with Skilled Workers standards, will now face a heightened salary requirement from £26,200 and £10.75 per hour to £38,700 and £15.88 per hour.

Increase to the minimum income requirement under the partner routes

The planned increase to the Minimum Income Requirement for those in five-year partner and child routes is now underway. This aims to ensure that families make a net positive impact on the economy.

The Home Office believes that this is no longer reflective of the salary required for a family to be self-sufficient and not rely on public funding.

This introduces a new minimum income threshold of £29,000 for new applicants to these routes, effective from 11th April 2024.

  • This marks the initial phase in aligning the financial requirements for this route with the updated minimum general salary threshold for Skilled Workers.

There will also no longer be a separate child element to the minimum income requirement. This is to ensure that British nationals are not treated less favourably than migrants who are required to meet the General Skilled Worker threshold as a flat rate, regardless of any children being sponsored.

Furthermore, the separate child element within the minimum income requirement will be eliminated. This aims to ensure equal treatment for British nationals and migrants obligated to meet the General Skilled Worker threshold, which is set at a flat rate, irrespective of any sponsored children.

Transitional provisions are in place for individuals who, prior to 11th April, hold a Family visa within the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner or five-year partner route, or those who have submitted applications before this date and are awaiting approval.

Once the minimum income requirement (MIR) is fulfilled, this must be maintained throughout the journey to settlement on this route, provided the applicant continues to be partnered with the same individual. This extends to children seeking to join or accompany a parent. This news offers assurance to those already on the route or those who submit applications before the impending threshold adjustment.

Five Star International will continue to monitor any further changes and updates released by the Home Office.

If you’re unsure of what these changes might mean for you, speak to our team who will be happy to assist.

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