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Government announces significant changes to Immigration Rules to reduce net migration

The Home Secretary has announced a package of measures today which aim to significantly reduce legal migration into the UK. The “five-point plan”, which will come into force in Spring 2024, consists of the following changes:

  • Skilled worker minimum salary change: the threshold for applications under the Skilled Worker route will increase to £38,700 (from the current £26,200), with a lower salary threshold applicable to health and care workers.
  • Shortage Occupation List: The 20% discount applied to minimum salaries for applicants under the Shortage Occupation list (SOL) will be axed. In addition, the Home Secretary has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the entirety of the SOL given the new minimum salary threshold for Skilled Workers, with a view to reducing the number of eligible occupations on the SOL.
  • Family Visas: The minimum salary threshold to sponsor a family member will increase to £38,700 (from the current £18,600 which was set in 2012) in line with the changes to the Skilled Worker threshold.
  • Student and Graduate visas: The government will ask the MAC to review the Graduate Route to “prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of UK Higher Education”.
  • Health and Care visas: Overseas care workers will not be able to bring family dependents to the UK. Care firms that want to sponsor people to come to the UK will need to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

The Home Secretary claims that these measures would mean that 300,000 people who entered the UK last year would not have been able to do so. Net migration was 672,000 in the year to June 2023.

These measures are in addition to the over 60% increase in the NHS Surcharge, due in January 2024, which is also designed to act as a disincentive to migration to the UK.

Please contact your Magrath Sheldrick representative for further information.


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