In a Shocking announcement on December 4, 2023, Home Secretary James Cleverly unveiled a series of immigration measures that not only slam the door on aspiring migrants but also deliver a harsh blow to British citizens and businesses. This blog sheds light on the key changes and their potential implications.

This blog will be updated regularly as more details emerge. Last update 31 January 2024.

Cruel Restrictions:

1. Skilled Worker Minimum Salary Skyrockets

One of the biggest headlines – the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers is set to surge by a third, soaring from £26,200 to an eye-watering £38,700.

Industries with lower pay scales, like hospitality, are left reeling. The shortage of chefs could deepen, potentially forcing businesses to shut down.

The burden of meeting this exorbitant threshold will fall on British businesses, placing numerous sectors in dire straits.

2. Family Visa Minimum Salary Doubles

No less shocking – the minimum income requirement for family visas, including spouses or partners, is set to increase by an astonishing 108%.

Currently standing at £18,600, it will reach an astronomical £38,700—far beyond the means of the average UK worker. However, in a welcome development, the Government has confirmed that this ultimate threshold will be reached in ‘stages’ with the first increase in spring to be set at £29,000. The timetable of changes is explained further below.

Despite this concession, many families seeking reunion and settlement in the UK will face an insurmountable barrier.

3. Dependents Banned from Joining Care Workers

While care workers are spared from the £38,700 threshold, a separate, heartless measure prohibits them from bringing partners or children.

This callous policy threatens to deter highly skilled care workers from contributing to the UK, despite their crucial role and often meagre wages.

4. The Immigration Health Surcharge is increased by 66%

The Immigration Health Surcharge is set to increase from £624 to £1,035 per year for adult applicants and from £470 to £776 per year for child applicants.

This increase now takes effect on 6 February 2024.

5. Other Restrictions

Changes to the shortage occupation list are looming, coupled with the elimination of the 20% reduction that currently provides some relief to businesses. This change lacks a specific date but is said to come into force from “early April”.

Businesses sponsoring care workers will now be subjected to regulation by the Care Quality Commission.

When do these changes come into force?

A ministerial statement was released on 30 January to clarify when some of the increases will happen, although some still remain vague..

The salary threshold increase for those on the skilled worker route has been confirmed to be implemented on 4 April 2024.

The cruel change to ban care workers from bringing dependents has been confirmed to be implemented on 11 March 2024.

As noted, the increase in the minimum income threshold for family visas is said to be raised incrementally:

  1. The first stage sets the minimum income requirement to be increased to £29,000 on 11 April 2024.
  2. It is then said to be raised to £34,500 — there is no general date for this increase, never mind a specific one.
  3. The threshold will then be raised to an excessive £38,700 in a very vague “early 2025”.

What if I am already on an affected route, will these apply to me?

Thankfully, further updates were released by the government in January 2024 to clarify that the new changes will generally not apply to those already on the immigration route. These clarifications are as follows:

  • For care workers already on the route, their dependents will be able to remain even if they have not yet brought their dependents to the UK.
  • Skilled Workers already on the route are exempt from the new extortionate salary threshold.
  • The same can be said for family visas (including spouses or partners) – those already on the route before the threshold is increased will not have to meet the unconscionable £38,700.

We can help!

In the face of these draconian measures, Truth Legal stands ready to assist with your immigration matters. If you’re grappling with the fallout of these harsh measures, reach out and contact us.

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Catherine Reynolds
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