March 2024: New Statement of Changes In Immigration Rules Significantly Increases Minimum Salary Required for Skilled Workers and Spouses

March 2024: New Statement of Changes In Immigration Rules Significantly Increases Minimum Salary Required for Skilled Workers and Spouses

Mar 21, 2024
Last Updated on May 22, 2024

On 14th March, the Home Office published its latest Statement of Changes In Immigration Rules. As expected, the minimum salary requirements for Skilled Worker visa applicants will rise by 48% from £26,200 to £38,700. The changes also propose an increase in the minimum income requirement for family UK Spouse visa applicants from £18,600 to £29,000. These changes are both part of the government’s “five-point plan”, which is intended to reduce legal immigration through work, study, and family visa routes. 

The statement explains, “As announced by the Home Secretary on 4th December 2023, changes are being made to reduce net migration by encouraging businesses to invest in the resident workforce rather than over-relying on migration, while bringing salaries in line with the average full-time salary for eligible jobs”. 

Skilled Worker Changes

The Home Office is pushing ahead with its plans to reduce net migration by raising the salary requirements for the Skilled Worker visa from £26,200 to £38,700 from 4th April 2024. The statement explains that the current salary threshold aligns with the 25th percentile for UK earnings in eligible occupations and that the proposed amount is based on median UK earnings in eligible occupations. The going rates for Skilled Worker visa eligible occupations will also be raised from the 25th percentile to the median based on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) pay data. In addition, the Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) will be re-numbered in line with the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) SOC 2020 list.

The statement clarifies that Health and Care visa applicants whose occupational going rates are based on national pay scales will be exempt from the new median salary requirements. Instead, a general threshold based on the 25th percentile will apply, which means that the salary threshold for this type of visa will increase from £26,200 to £29,000 based on the latest ONS data.

The statement of changes also clarifies that ‘transitional’ salary threshold changes will apply to Skilled Workers already in the route if applying to extend their visa, change employment, or settle prior to 4th April 2030.

Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to be replaced

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be removed by the Home Office and replaced with a new ‘Immigration Salary List’. The intention of this change, according to the Home Office, is to make clearer that “the entries on the list are those where the Government considers it sensible to offer a discounted salary threshold, rather than being a list of all occupations experiencing labour shortage”. The contents of the new list are based on a review carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). They also advise that the MAC will carry out a full review of the list later in 2024. 

As with the current SOL, occupations included in the new list will also have a 20% discount on the general salary threshold. However, the existing 20% discount to the going rate requirement is being removed.

Changes to other work visa routes

The statement includes a number of other changes to the salary requirements for other work visa routes to bring them in line with the latest ONS pay data, as follows:

  • For Senior or Specialist Workers applying for a Global Business Mobility (GBM) visa, the salary threshold will be increased from £45,800 to £48,500, and the going rates are being updated.

threshold is being increased from £24,220 to £25,410. The going rates will remain based on 70% of the 25th percentile, and these will be updated based on the latest ONS pay data.

  • For the Scale-up visa applicants, the salary threshold will increase from £34,600 to £36,300. The going rates will also be updated using the latest ONS pay data.
  • For certain poultry workers in the Seasonal Workers route who must be paid in

line with Skilled Workers, the salary requirement is being raised from £26,200 and £10.75 per hour to £38,700 and £15.88 per hour.

Family visa income requirement changes

Under the new changes, the salary threshold for overseas spouses and partners applying for a UK family visa is to increase from £18,600 to £29,000. The proposed change will come into effect on 11th April 2024.

The statement explains, “The minimum income requirement is being amended as it has not been increased for over a decade and no longer reflects the level of income required by a family to ensure they are self-sufficient and do not need to rely on public funds”. 

According to the details of the changes, the increased income threshold aligns with the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs which are eligible for Skilled Worker visas. The large increase in the spouse visa income requirement is also designed to encourage a net positive contribution to the public finances, according to the statement. As the statement explains, “This change will also support the Government’s wider ambition for the UK to be a high-wage, high productivity, high-skill economy”. 

Other changes for spouse visa applicants and holders include:

  • There will no longer be a separate child element to the minimum income requirement “to ensure that British nationals are not treated less favourably than migrants who are required to meet the General Skilled Worker threshold as a flat rate regardless of any children being sponsored”. 
  • For those who hold a family visa within the fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner or five-year partner route before 11th April 2024, a transitional arrangement will apply. This means that once a minimum income requirement (MIR) has been met, the same MIR must be met through to settlement on the route. This is provided that the applicant is applying to stay with the same partner. 

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

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