On the 4th December 2023, the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, announced his 5 point plan to reduce the net migration figures for the UK.
These changes included:
- Social Care workers not being allowed to bring their dependants to the UK
- The minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas rising from £26,200 per annum to £38,700 per annum (which excludes those on health and care visas and education workers on the national pay scales)
- Changes to the number of roles on the shortage occupation list, with the intention of removing the lower salary requirement
- Those on spouse visas will need to earn at least £29,000 per annum, increasing from £18,600 per annum. The ultimate aim is to increase this to £38,700 per annum.
- The Migrant Advisory Committee will review the graduate visa route
In December, the Home Office was unable to advise on when the planned changes would take effect, however, a time table was released on 30th January 2024 on when the changes are likely to take effect.
The Home Secretary will lay two statement of changes to the immigration rules on the 19th February 2024 and another on 14th March 2024. The Home Secretary does not need parliamentary approval for the changes to come into effect, but MPs and Lords can annul the changes within 40 days if they decide too, but the expectation is that they will not annul the changes to the rules as they have wide political support.
Social care workers arriving from 11th March 2024, will not be able to bring their dependents. The Skilled Worker salary will increase on 4th April 2024. There will be a new shortage occupation list, which is likely to take effect on 4th April 2024.
Furthermore, on 11th April 2024, the minimum income threshold for those on a spouse visa will increase to £29,000 per annum, it will increase again in late 2024 to £34,500 and it will increase again in early 2025 to £38,700 per annum. The Migrant Advisory Committee will publish a report in late 2024, into the Graduate visa route.
Hence, 2024 will be a year of significant changes and with a general election coming in 2024, you should see further announcements from British politicians on changes to immigration policies.