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Immigration Update: Changes to UK Immigration Rules.

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Immigration Update: Following Statement of Changes to UK Immigration Rules.

Following the Home Secretary’s announcement on December 2023 to curb net migration by encouraging businesses to invest in the resident workforce rather than over-relying on migration, while bringing salaries in line with the average full-time salary for eligible jobs, the Government published its Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules on 14th March 2024 providing details for the following changes:

Skilled Worker Threshold:

From 4 April 2024, the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Workers will increase: The general salary threshold will be raised from £26,200 to £38,700.

The ‘going rates’ for roles are also being raised from the 25th percentile to the median. This means that instead of being paid more than a quarter of people in similar jobs, they need to be paid more than half of people in similar jobs.

Skilled Worker migrants must meet the requirements for the minimum salary threshold and the going rate for their role.

Health and Care Visas:

Workers sponsored for Health and Care visas, or in occupations where going rates are set using national pay scales, are exempt from the new median salary requirements.

Instead, a general threshold based on the 25th percentile continues to apply and is being updated from £26,200 to £29,000. Going rates are also being updated based on the latest ONS pay data and/or the latest available national pay scales. These updates also apply to Skilled Workers who are already in the route before these Rules take effect if they are making applications to extend their stay, change employment or settle before 4 April 2030.

Care workers or Senior care workers employed after 11 March 2024 can no longer bring their dependents.

Transitional Provisions:

Skilled Workers who will need to extend, settle in the UK or change employment transitional provisions have been put in place will be subject to the new general salary threshold of £29,000. They will still need to meet the updated going rate for their occupation, which may be higher than their current rate.

Changes to GBM and other work routes:

From 4 April 2024, the minimum salary threshold for Global Mobility routes will increase as follows:

  • The general salary threshold for Senior or Specialist workers will increase from £45,800 to £48,500.
  • The salary threshold for Graduate Trainees will increase from £24,220 to £25,410.
  • The threshold for the Scale-up route will increase from £34,600 to £36,300.

Supplementary Employment:

Supplementary employment in the Skilled Worker route, is being expanded to encompass all other occupations eligible for the skilled worker route. Skilled workers are permitted to carry out supplementary work and are permitted an additional 20 hours per week provided they are still doing the job they are sponsored to do if the work is in the same occupation code and at the same level as the job they are sponsored to do.

Update of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code system

Changes are being made to update the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code system used in the immigration system from SOC 2010 to SOC 2020.

Immigration Salary List:

On 4th April 2024, the Shortage Occupation list will be replaced by the Immigration Salary list with a significant reduction of eligible job roles. Roles on this list will benefit from 20% discount. To be sponsored for a role on the list the applicant will need to be paid:

  • The general £38,700 threshold will be reduced to £30,960.
  • The lower £29,000 threshold will be reduced to £23,200.

The 20% discount to the going rate for shortage occupations will be removed, although the discount for relevant PhDs qualifications, STEM PhDs and the discount for new entrants to the labour market will be retained.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will be undertaking a major review of the Immigration Salary List later in 2024. The MAC will also undertake a rapid review of the Graduate route.

Income Threshold under family routes:

From 11 April 2024, the minimum income requirement for partners and children of British nationals and individuals settled in the UK will increase from £18,600 to £29,000. This will further increase incrementally.

If the applicant has dependent children there will no longer be an additional income requirement on the application, irrespective of how many children are included in a family application.

There are transitional arrangements for those who, before 11 April 2024, already have a Family visa within the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner or five-year partner route, or who applied before 11 April and are being granted. Once a minimum income requirement (MIR) has been met, the same MIR must be met through settlement on the route, provided the applicant is applying to stay with the same partner. This will also be the case for children seeking to join or accompany a parent.

The Sponsor Management System (SMS) will be unavailable from 2 April 2024 (from 7pm) to 4 April 2024 (until 9 am). Certificate of Sponsorship assigned on or after 4th April 2024 will be subject to the new salary thresholds.

Any Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) assigned prior to 4th April 2024 will remain subject to the current rules.