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UK Immigration Changes 2024: Skilled Worker Visa Salary Threshold Increase

On 5th December 2023, the UK government announced a new five-point plan to cut immigration, which includes a substantial increase in the minimum salary for skilled workers from £26,200 to £38,700, with similar adjustments for family visas. These measures will be published in Spring 2024.

This is the biggest net migration cut ever. James Cleverly stated that around 300,000 individuals eligible to come to the UK last year would no longer meet the criteria. The move comes as a response to the surge in net migration, reaching a record 745,000 in 2022, with Conservative MPs urging measures to bring down these numbers.

According to the plan, these five measures include:

  1. Minimum salary threshold increases to £38,700 for Skilled workers
  2. Ban care workers bringing family dependants to the UK
  3. Family visa income threshold increase to £38,700
  4. Removal of the 20% salary discount for Shortage Occupation list
  5. Review of Graduate Route

1. Minimum salary threshold increases to £38,700 for Skilled workers

The minimum annual salary threshold for Skilled Worker Visas is set to increase from £26,200 to £38,700, marking an increase of almost 50%. However, the care worker visas will be exempted from the new salary requirement.

Previous applicants will not be impacted by the new rule, and salary thresholds will remain unchanged until the introduction of new regulations in spring 2024.

This adjustment is intended to make it comparatively less appealing for businesses to seek labour from abroad instead of hiring British personnel.

Overseas people who want to study or work in the UK will also have to pay more to the NHS. The Immigration Health Surcharge will jump from £624 to £1,035 per person per year.

2. Ban care workers bringing family dependants to the UK

Care Workers from Overseas will be unable to bring dependents to the UK, this is to end the "abuse of health and care visas". Care companies that want to sponsor people applying for visas need to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

Cleverley said that in the year to September, 100,000 care workers brought about 120,000 family members into the UK, and industry insiders predict that at current levels, the total number of net migration may suddenly decrease by about 100,000 people.

3. Family visa income threshold increase to £38,700

The minimum income threshold for family visas will also be increased to £38,700.

Prices currently stand at £18,600 and has not been raised since 2012.

The new measure is designed to ensure those who have settled or are British citizens can support their dependents financially rather than relying on public benefits. It can also reduce the financial erosion caused by immigration.

4. Remove the 20% salary discount on the Shortage Occupation List  

In sectors facing staff shortages, companies will no longer have the option to pay overseas workers less than their UK counterparts. Currently affected sectors, such as health, education, nursing, graphic design, construction, and more, have seen companies allowed to pay overseas workers 80% of the "prevailing wage" to fill positions, a rule that will be discontinued from the upcoming spring, except care workers.

The government is set to conduct a comprehensive assessment of shortage industries and positions, aiming to significantly reduce them. By reforming the application process for those in shortage industries coming to the UK, the government seeks to eliminate the low-cost shortage labour from overseas. This includes eliminating the 20% discount on the minimum wage for individuals with shortage occupations, as well as reviewing and reducing the types of jobs on the list. The Occupation list will be replaced with the Immigration salary list.

5. Review of Graduate Route

Currently, students who have completed a degree can stay in the UK for two years on a graduate visa (three years for a PhD). The government will ask the Immigration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route "to prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education".

At the same time, from January 2024, the government will revoke the right of international students to bring their dependents unless they are studying a postgraduate course designated as a research project. The Home Secretary said the changes will come into effect next spring. The government expects that, taken together, the plans will mean net migration to the UK will fall by around 300,000 over a year.

How Can WorkPermitCloud Help?

In light of the increasingly stringent UK immigration rules, companies aiming to hire talent from overseas are advised to act promptly before the implementation of new regulations. WorkPermitCloud stands ready to assist businesses in navigating these changes effectively. We can streamline the process by providing expert guidance on essential aspects such as sponsor license applications, skilled worker visa and family visa applications. Contact us at 02080872343 or email info@workpermitcloud.co.uk.




Md Lutfur Rahman FCILEx

Immigration Advisor and Commissioner of Oath

Managing Director

Work Permit Cloud Limited

Let us help you with your Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence UK