The Home Secretary announced the five-point plan on 4 December 2023, as part of the effort to reduce net migration and to prevent the abuse of the UK immigration system. The Home Office has now provided further guidance on how these changes will be implemented:
Skilled Worker visa
The minimum salary level for Skilled Worker visas will increase from £26,200 to £38,700. The ‘going rates’ will also increase in line with the median full-time salaries for skilled jobs.
Individuals who are currently present in the UK on this route will be exempt from these changes when they extend, change employers, or apply to settle.
Further, individuals coming to the UK under the Health and Care worker route, and education workers on national pay scales, will also be exempt from the increased minimum salary requirements.
Care workers – (Health and Care worker visa)
Overseas care workers will no longer be permitted to bring their dependants (partner and children) with them to the UK. Sponsors must also be regulated by the Care Quality Commission to sponsor care workers.
Care and senior care workers currently present in the UK under this route will be able to remain with their dependants when making applications to extend, change employers or settle. Similarly, care and senior care workers who are already on this route can bring their dependants before the rules change. Individuals who switch to this route after Spring 2024 will not be able to remain with or bring their dependants to the UK.
The Home Office initially proposed to increase the minimum income level for family visas to £38,700 in Spring 2024. The proposal has now been modified, and the minimum income will be increased gradually.
The minimum threshold will be increased to £29,000 in the first instance and will ultimately be raised to £38,700. The Home Office is yet to clarify the timeframe for the above. The Home Office will also remove the additional income requirements for children included in applications made under the family route.
Individuals who are currently present in the UK on this route, or apply before Spring 2024, will not need to meet the new minimum income requirement. However, once the changes have been enforced, individuals in the UK who wish to switch to this route will be subject to the new minimum income requirements.
Shortage Occupation List
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will be reviewing the roles that currently appear on the Shortage Occupation List (SoL).
The SoL will be revised and renamed as the Immigration Salary List (ISL). The 20% reduction on the ‘going rate’ salary for jobs on the SoL will be abolished. Therefore, individuals will no longer be able to benefit from the lower salary level required for jobs that were included on the SoL.
The MAC will review this route, and the Home Office will confirm the outcome of their evaluation in 2024.