The UK government recently announced a series of substantial immigration policy changes set to take effect in Spring 2024, headlined by a nearly 50% increase in the Skilled Worker visa minimum salary threshold from £26,200 to £38,700. This shift poses major implications for businesses reliant on sponsoring foreign talent, while also introducing obstacles for Brits hoping to bring over spouses or partners.
While the heightened salary requirement won’t impact care workers and teachers, over half of the remaining eligible occupation codes will now need to pay salaries 47.7% higher to meet the threshold. Consequently, the private sector and jobs like chefs, butchers and middle-skilled roles hovering around £26,000 will feel the brunt of the change. Smaller firms outside major hubs also stand to struggle with elevated pay requirements.
The shortage occupation list is being replaced by a new Immigration Salary List as well, removing discounts and facing potential occupation reductions after an upcoming review. Dependents have been banned for care workers, while Brits earning under £38,700 will struggle to sponsor spouses under new Appendix FM rules. And finally, the graduate visa is under review over concerns it isn’t achieving intended aims.
These sweeping modifications underline the government’s determination to limit migrant worker visa volumes through tighter requirements, while seeking to address pressing UK skills shortages. With the Statement of Changes still pending and further details outstanding, businesses and prospective applicants should closely track developments and strategic policy responses. Reaching out to legal counsel to understand options and potentially expedite applications may prove prudent as well.