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UK New Immigration Rules in 2024

UK New Immigration Rules in 2024

Last update: 1 Feb 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 will also see a substantial increase in the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), which will rise from £624 to £1,035 per year on 6 February 2024.

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 will rise from £26,200 per year to £38,700 on 4 April 2024. However, healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, care workers and those on national pay scales (e.g. teachers), will not be impacted by this salary requirement change.

According to the Home Office, the changes will bring the salary threshold for skilled workers in line with the median wage for eligible skilled roles.

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

The new immigration rules for 2024 for skilled workers will not remove the 30% reduction in the salary requirement for new entrants to the job market, including those aged under 26 and post-doctoral researchers.

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

If you currently hold a valid Skilled Worker visa before the change came into force, the increased salary threshold will not apply to you if you apply for another Skilled Worker visa (e.g. if you change employer), extend your stay, or apply to settle permanently.

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.

If you are planning to apply for a UK spouse visa in 2024 or beyond, you can still meet the minimum salary requirement with £62,500 savings.2 That said, the government has not yet announced whether it intends to increase the minimum income amount of savings needed to fully meet the income requirement.

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.

References

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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