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We informed you here late last year about some changes government had announced in relation to immigration rules.  We now have further details of the changes to legal migration rules for family and work visas.

You will be aware that recent Net Migration figures are believed by Ministers to be ‘far too high’.  The main contributors to this are said to be  international students, social care workers and their dependent families members, as well as those on humanitarian visa schemes and those claiming asylum.

There are 5 planned changes to be aware of:

  • The minimum salary to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker Visa will increase on 4 April 2024.  The baseline minimum will rise from £26,200 to £38,700 (this excludes the Health and Care Worker visa, which includes social care, or for education workers on national pay scales).
  • Changes are being made to the shortage occupation list, some of which will be made as early as April 2024.  This will reduce the number of jobs where it will be possible to sponsor someone for a Skilled Worker visa on less than the usual minimum salary (which is the main purpose of the list).
  • The minimum income usually required to sponsor someone for a spouse or partner visa will rise from the current minimum (£18,600 p.a.) to £29,000 on 11 April 2024, then to £34,500 later this year, and ultimately to around £38,700 in ‘early 2025’.
  • Social care workers will not be allowed to bring dependents (that is, partners and children) on their visa from 11 March 2024.
  • A review of the Graduate visa, a two-year work permit for overseas graduates of British universities which does not require sponsorship from an employer.  The report on this is expected in late 2024.

Additional points:

  1. Any current visa holder or spouse/dependent due to extend their visa will not be affected by these new rules.  These will apply to first-time applicants only.
  2. Incomes are always based on that of the individual.  You cannot combine the income of an applicant and spouse to reach the income threshold.
  3. If an income threshold cannot be reached for an applicant, there is an alternative to income by proving a pot of savings at the point of application. There are conditions to this though so do check current rules for full details.
  4. First-time applicants can still avoid these new rules if they make their applications quickly – but we would not recommend leaving applications to the last minute!
  5. If you have anyone on a Graduate Visa due to expire this year who you wish to sponsor, this would be treated like a ‘first-time application’. In such cases, consider expediting your plans to submit a Skilled Worker Visa application to avoid the above changes.

We will continue to update you as things change but if you would like to discuss us representing you for an employee’s visa application or Sponsorship Licence for your business, please contact Lindsey Newman (lindsey@menzieslaw.co.uk / 0117 325 0526)

 

 

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