Dates confirmed FOR new minimum salary spouse family & skilled workers and health and care dependants restriction
Today, on 30th January 2024, the Home Secretary announced dates for the rollout of new transformative legal migration measures. The measures to curb net migration were already announced on 4 December 2023 in the plan to cut net migration, With the previously announced package to restrict student dependants, it is expected to reduce the net migration numbers by around 300,000. We summarised the plan in our blog article on 4th December 2023.
In our previous blog on 27th December 2023 we provided information on the implementation timeline available at the time. In this new blog we provide specific dates confirmed by the UK government in today’s press release by the Home Secretary.
Specific timeline FOR new minimum salary spouse & skilled workers and health and care dependants restriction
Hugely important UK immigration update: Reforms that will restrict care workers from bringing dependants and require care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission if they are sponsoring migrants, will come into force on 11 March 2024.
Increasing the minimum income requirement threshold in stages for family visas, starting at £29,000 from 11 April 2024. The new higher minimum income requirement is to apply ‘Only to first-time applicants’ and not to those who already applied for their visa before the new comes into force.
The Immigration Rules, which will include the removal of the 20% going rate discount for occupations on the Shortage Occupation List on 14 March 2024.
A new increase to the minimum salary required for those arriving on the Skilled Worker visa, from £26,200 to £38,700, on 4 April 2024. Those coming on the Health and Social Care Visa route will be exempt from the £38,700 salary threshold applied to skilled workers, to continue to bring the healthcare workers that care sector and NHS need. Home Office is also exempting education workers on national pay-scale occupations.
Spouse, Unmarried Partner family visas minimum income increase date
The spouse/partner visa minimum income will first increase to £29,000 on 11 April 2024. Then it will increase further to around £34,500 at an unspecified time later in 2024. Finally to around £38,700 “by early 2025”.
According to a government’s spokesperson “Those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold”. The new higher minimum income requirement is suppose to apply ‘Only to first-time applicants’.
Health and Care visa sponsors and care workers
Care workers (SOC code 6145) and senior care workers (SOC code 6146) already in the route will be able to remain with their dependants, including extending, changing employer (within these SOC codes) and settlement.
Where a care worker or senior care worker is in the route before the Immigration Rules change, but has not yet brought dependants, they will be allowed to bring dependants during their sponsorship (on this visa).
Individuals who are in the UK on any other route, including where that route permits dependants, who switch into the care visa as a care worker or senior care worker after this date, will not be able to stay with (or bring over) dependants.
Care providers who were sponsoring workers in exclusively non-regulated activities (and therefore not required to be registered with the CQC) before the rules change should be able to continue to sponsor these workers, including for extensions to their visa on those terms, but not hire new ones.
NHS Surcharge increase from 6th February 2024
From 6 February 2024, the Immigration Health Surcharge will be raised by 66% to £1,035 for each year of visa for adults and to £776 for each year of visa for applicants under 18, Youth Mobility visas and Student visas.
The UK government explains this by the increases in healthcare expenditure and better reflects the NHS use by migrants, who are provided with near comprehensive access to health services in return.
Visitor visa changes from 31st January 2024
From tomorrow, 31 January 2024, the government is implementing the changes to visitor visa rules Reforms to the visit visa include expanding the permitted activities to make it easier to do business in the UK. Visitor permitted activities contain important rules for overseas visitors.
Home Office is amending the permitted intra-corporate activities to remove the prohibition on working directly with clients. Is introducing a requirement that client facing activity is incidental to the visitor’s employment abroad and does not amount to the offshoring of a project or service to their overseas employer.
Home Office is making clear that visitors are permitted to work remotely whilst they are in the UK but that remote working must not be the primary purpose of their visit. Home Office is allowing speakers at conferences to be paid for this activity, by including this in the list of Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE). Home Office is also moving the provisions of the Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor route into the Standard Visitor route.
We outlined the visitor visa changes in our previous blog on 7th December 2023.
Electronic travel authorisation (ETA) opening for the remaining Gulf states nationals and Jordan
The government also including further countries to the electronic travel authorisation (ETA). The ETA scheme is opening for the remaining nationals of the Gulf states and Jordan on Thursday 1 February 2024.
ETAs are a new requirement for passengers visiting or transiting through the UK, who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have any other UK immigration status. It will continue to be rolled out, worldwide, throughout 2024. Once fully implemented, the scheme will enable a more efficient customer experience and cement the UK as a world leader in border security.