The Home Secretary has announced several new measures aimed at reducing the numbers of legal migrants entering the UK. We have been inundated with calls and emails enquiring about the impact of the Immigration Policy changes since the announcement. Please find below a selection of recurring questions and our responses, as of December 2023.
Please contact our team if you are concerned about these Immigration Policy changes, or if you have any further questions.
Q: When will these changes take place?
A: In Spring 2024. Unfortunately, there are no more specific details at the moment.
Q: I am here as the wife of a British Citizen. I had to show my husband earned £18,600 per year to enter the UK. Will we have to show annual earnings of £37,800 when I renew my permission to be here?
A: It is likely that there will be ‘transitional’ measures for people who started off the settlement process under the old financial threshold of £18,600. So no, it is unlikely that you will need to show substantially more earnings. However, again, we do not know the full details at this point.
Q: I employ a Skilled Worker who earns £26,200 per year. Will I have to increase their salary to £38,700?
A: With the information we have at the moment, it is likely that a transitional period will allow you to continue to pay the lower salary because the Skilled Worker’s employment started before these changes.
Q: I am a Care Worker; will these changes affect me?
A: No. People on the Health and Social Care Skilled Worker route are not included in the salary increase. However, from spring 2024, new Care Workers from overseas will have to be paid more because the government is removing the 20% reduction in the minimum salary for shortage occupation jobs.
The impact of these measures is mitigated by the fact that, for the year to September 2023, over half of Skilled Worker visas were issued to Health and Social Care workers who remain unaffected by the raised salary threshold.
Q: I am a Care Worker, and my wife wants to join me here.
A: Under the new measures, migrant Care Workers will not be able to bring dependant family members to the UK. If you want your wife to join you, do it now.
“This is a significant shift in Immigration policy and will have an impact on thousands of people and businesses. We will be watching for further information and developments.”
Q: I have been offered a Skilled Worker job as an electrical engineer, and I am due to start the job in the UK next May. The salary they have offered me is £30,000 per year. What will happen?
A: If your new employer does not raise your salary to £38,700, you will not be able to take up the job. It seems that moderately skilled jobs will be affected most by these measures. Many senior jobs pay more than £38,700; however, there are many jobs eligible to be filled by migrant workers that do not pay at that level.
Q: I am British, and my partner was going to apply to come to the UK next May to live permanently here with me. I must wait until May so that I will have been in my current job for over six months. I earn £23,500 per year. What can I do?
A: This is going to be a common scenario. Younger people, women and those working outside London and the Southeast are more likely to earn well below £38,700 and have little hope of reaching that salary soon. The only way to get around this problem is to apply before the changes occur next year using another way of reaching the £18,600 threshold while it is still in place. For instance, by combining earnings with savings. However, savings must have been held in the applicant's and/or partner's accounts for over six months.
It is likely that this large increase in the salary threshold will be challenged in the courts, but this will be a lengthy process. There is a route to enter the UK for those unable to meet the financial requirements. This route relies on third-party support or uses exceptions to the requirement relating to human rights. These are complex applications. We are likely to see a rise in these applications after spring 2024.