Immigration Rules Changes to UK Family and Work Visa Rules in 2024

Immigration Rules Changes to UK Family and Work Visa Rules in 2024

The UK government sweeping changes to its legal migration rules, which came into effect in early 2024, have ushered in a new era of tighter restrictions and higher financial barriers for both family and business migrants. These reforms, aimed at reducing overall immigration levels, will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for those seeking to enter or remain in the country.

One of the most significant changes is the substantial increase in the minimum income threshold for sponsoring a spouse/partner visa, rising from £18,600 to £29,000, with plans to further elevate it to £38,700 by early 2025. This higher financial barrier poses a formidable challenge for many families, potentially preventing numerous couples from being able to reunite or remain together in the UK, impacting familial bonds and quality of life.

While the option to use savings above £16,000 to meet the minimum income requirement remains, the substantial increase in the required lump sum (from £62,500 to £88,500 for a couple with no relevant earnings) will place a significant financial burden on many families.

Additionally, the ban on social care workers bringing their immediate family members on their visa is likely to exacerbate staffing shortages in the care sector, as it may discourage qualified professionals from taking up these roles if it means separating from their loved ones.

Transitional arrangements for those who applied for a spouse/partner visa before 11th April 2024 will provide some relief, allowing them to continue being assessed against the previous £18,600 threshold for extensions and settlement applications.

The changes to the Skilled Worker visa regime will also have profound effects on businesses seeking to hire from abroad. The substantial increase in the baseline minimum salary (from £26,200 to £38,700) and the ‘going rates’ for specific occupations will likely make it more challenging for companies to sponsor skilled workers, potentially leading to talent shortages in certain industries and impacting productivity and economic growth.

The truncated Immigration Salary List, which replaces the previous Shortage Occupation List, may further limit businesses’ ability to sponsor workers in certain roles at reduced salary thresholds, exacerbating recruitment challenges.

However, transitional arrangements for those who held a Skilled Worker visa before 4th April 2024 will provide some relief, allowing them to continue being subject to the previous salary thresholds when changing employment, extending, or settling.

Provisions for lower salary thresholds for specific groups, such as those at the start of their careers, NHS staff, and education workers, may also help mitigate the impact on certain sectors.

While the government’s aim is to reduce overall immigration levels, these measures may lead to unintended consequences, such as labour shortages in critical sectors like healthcare and education, disruptions to family life, and potential economic impacts.

As the new migration landscape unfolds, it will be crucial for families and businesses to stay informed and seek professional guidance to navigate the complexities of these changes effectively. Policymakers, too, will need to closely monitor the effects and be willing to adjust strike the right balance between controlling immigration and ensuring the UK remains an attractive destination for talented individuals and their families.

To aid in this transition, leading experts Sacha Wooldridge and Mark Symes  will be conducting a comprehensive session on 26th April to guide individuals and businesses through the intricacies of the new rules, including revamped income thresholds, novel salary lists, armed forces routes, and updated sponsor eligibility criteria.
For more information or to register, click here

For enquiries, contact us on or call us at 075 4416 4692

Important links:

Statement of Changes :

Appendix FM:

Family Migration: Appendix FM and Appendix HM Armed Forces Minimum income requirement:

Skilled Worker visa:

Immigration Salary list :

For a full list of course scheduled for this year, visit our course archive here.

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