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UK New Immigration Rules in 2024

UK New Immigration Rules in 2024

Last updated: 30 April 2024

New UK immigration rules are being introduced throughout 2024, including an increase in the salary requirement for skilled worker visa to £38,700 per year on 4 April 2024 and spouse visa to £29,000 on 11 April 2024, restrictions on healthcare and care worker visa holders as well as international student visa holders from bringing their dependants (partners and children), a reform of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), and the removal of the 20% ‘going rate’ salary discount for shortage occupations.1

2024 has also seen a substantial increase in the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), which has increased to £1,035 per year.

In this article, we will provide a detailed explanation of the new 2024 immigration rules. We will continue to update you with the latest official information as it becomes available in the coming weeks and months.

New immigration rules for UK Skilled Worker Visa

Under the new immigration rules for 2024, the minimum salary required for a Skilled Worker visa has increased from £26,200 per year to £38,700 on 4 April 2024. For healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, care workers, the salary requirement has increased by a smaller amount from £26,200 to £29,000.

Those who are paid a ‘going rate’ based on a UK national pay scale will not need to meet the median salary requirements. However, the going rates are being updated based on the latest ONS pay information and national pay scales.

Do new entrants still enjoy a 30% lower minimum salary requirement?

Yes, new entrant discounts remain in the new immigration rules: those who apply for a Skilled Worker Visa as a ‘new entrant’ will still be eligible for a salary discount of 30%. As of 4th April 2024, new entrants will need a salary of at least £30,960 per year (discounted from £38,700), or 70% of the going rate for their occupation.

For more information, please check Switching from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa in 2024

Will the £38,700 income requirement apply to a skilled worker visa extension?

Those who already hold a Skilled Worker Visa before 4th April 2024 will be subject to a lower minimum salary increase. If you want to apply for a visa extension, change of employer, or settle in the UK, you will now need either a salary of at least £29,000 (up from £26,200 but lower than the new threshold of £38,700) or the updated going rate for your occupation.

New Immigration Salary List replaced the Shortage Occupation List

The existing Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be replaced by a new Immigration Salary List (ISL). The Home Office is doing this so that they have greater control over the occupations with a lower salary requirement. It is expected that the ISL will have fewer eligible SOC codes than the SOL.

Occupations listed in the ISL will still have a 20% discount compared to the general salary threshold. This will now be £30,960 (where the threshold of £38,700 would normally apply) or £23,200 (where the £29,000 threshold would normally apply). Unfortunately, the previous 20% discount to the going rate requirement is being removed with the introduction of the ISL.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code system update

Under the new immigration rules, the Home Office will use an updated version of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes (SOC 2020), and SOC 2010 will be phased out. The SOC code system is used to classify and compare different occupations.

‘Appendix Skilled Occupations’ will be replaced by a new version based on SOC 2020. Some SOC codes which are currently eligible for sponsorship will no longer be eligible from 4th April 2024 because they fall below the minimum skill level of RQF Level 3. These include nannies, concierges, fashion stylists and car salesmen. Existing visa holders in one of these occupations can still apply for an extension, but they cannot change their employer.

UK Skilled Worker Dependant Visa new rules

While regular Skilled Worker Visa holders can still bring their family and children to the UK by applying for a Skilled Worker Dependant Visa, care workers and senior care workers under the Skilled Worker Visa route are not permitted to bring dependants as of 11 March 2024.

New immigration rules for UK Spouse Visa

Under the UK spouse visa new immigration rules, from 11 April 2024, first-time spouse visa applicants will need evidence that their UK partner earns at least £29,000. Further increases are expected to £34,500 and then £38,700. The timing of the further increases is not yet confirmed. However, there will no longer be a separate child element to the Spouse Visa minimum income requirement.

From 11 April 2024, if you are solely relying on cash savings to meet the Spouse Visa financial requirement, you will need £88,500, increased from £62,500.

Will the £29,000 income requirement apply to spouse visa extension

No, the expected increase in the minimum income for spouse visa applicants will not apply to those who already have a spouse/family visa on the five-year route to ILR.3 In addition, those granted a fiance visa prior to the change will not need to meet the higher income threshold when applying for a partner visa on the five-year partner route.

New immigration rules for UK Student Visa

From 1st January 2024, international students studying in the UK will only be able to bring their partner and children to the UK if they are studying either a PhD or other doctorate (at RQF level 8) or a research-based higher degree.4 This change was announced by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman in May 2023. Under the previous rules, it was possible for those on a UK student visa to bring their partner and children.

Is the Graduate Visa (PSW) going to be abolished?

There is no current plan to abolish the UK Graduate visa, but the scheme is under review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) with a view to preventing abuse and protecting the integrity and quality of UK higher education. We will keep you informed regarding the outcome of the review.

Changes to Visitor Visas

On 7th December 2023, the latest Statement of Changes to the immigration rules was published by the Home Office, including some important changes to the UK Visitor visa rules.5 These changes increase the range of permitted engagements that can be undertaken on a visitor visa, as follows:

  • The rule that says visitors cannot work directly with clients in the UK as part of an intra-corporate activity is being removed. Instead, there will be a new rule that requires that client-facing activity must be a) incidental to the visitor’s overseas job and b) not lead to the offshoring of a project or service by their overseas employer.
  • Visitors will be able to work remotely while visiting the UK as long as it is not the primary purpose of their visit.
  • Flight crews coming to the UK as part of a CAA-approved wet lease arrangement between March and October will be given permission to enter as a visitor.
  • Scientists, researchers, and academics doing research in the UK as part of their visit will be allowed to enter as visitors.
  • Legal professionals visiting the UK will now be able to give advice, appear in arbitrations, act as an arbitrator, mediator, or expert witness, attend conferences, and provide certain other permitted legal services, and
  • Visitors can be paid for speaking at conferences.

The new rules also state that all visitors can do permitted paid engagement work while visiting the UK without the need for a special visa. However, the engagement must have been organised before coming to the UK and undertaken within 30 days of arrival here.

New 10-year long residence ILR rules 2024

The new Long Residence rules require those applying for settlement (ILR) under the 10-year long residence route to show that either:

  • Their current permission (visa) has been held for at least 1 year before applying, or
  • They were exempt from immigration control in the year before applying.

Another new update for the long residence ILR absent rule in 2024 is:

  • any single absences started before 11 April 2024 must be no longer than 184 days
  • a 10-year period completed before 11 April 2024 must not have total absences of more than 548 days - for 10-year periods which extend beyond 11 April 2024, there is no 548-day limit
  • from 11 April 2024 the applicant must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period

The Home Office has made this change to bring the requirement for the 10 year long residence route to ILR in line with the wider requirements for permanent settlement in the UK.


1 GOV.UK: Net migration measures – further detail

2 GOV.UK: Proof of income

3 GOV.UK: Factsheet on net migration

4 GOV.UK: Student visa and dependant family members

5 GOV.UK: December 2023 statement of changes

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