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UK Government Makes Radical Changes to Family and Work Visa Requirements – What You Can Do

The UK government recently announced various changes to reduce net migration that affects immigrants and British citizens.

To get assistance applying for your spouse visa, corporate immigration or skilled worker visa before the minimum salary increase and other changes take effect in Spring 2024, contact one of our immigration lawyers today at 0333 305 9375 for immediate help. We’re available in person, via telephone or online.

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Sunak unveils his plan to reduce net migration from Spring 2024 

The UK government’s aim to reduce net migration, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has taken action by announcing his plan to increase minimum income requirements from £18,600 to £38,700 for family visas, as well as minimum salary requirements for skilled workers to increase over £10,000 more than it’s current figure. 

This drastic change will not just affect foreign nationals seeking a UK visa but will also impact Brits wishing to bring their spouse to the UK, as from Spring 2024, they will need to earn at least £38,700 to be eligible for a spouse visa. 

If you have any questions about UK immigration, our team is happy to assist.

Rules to be rolled out in Spring 2024 

  • The Shortage Occupation List will be edited, and the 20% salary discount for shortage occupations will be axed. 
  • Care workers are prohibited from bringing dependents to the UK, and care firms must register with the Care Quality Commission to sponsor visas. 
  • As of January 2024, international students will not be allowed to bring dependants on their study visa unless they are on postgraduate courses designated as research programmes, and the Migration Advisory Committee will review the graduate visa route. 
  • Foreign skilled workers must now earn a minimum salary of £38,700, with an exemption for the health and care sector. 
  • The minimum income requirement for spouse or family visas is increased to £38,700 from £18,600. 

What this means for families, workers and students 

Families 

In Spring 2024, three-quarters of Brits will not be able to afford to reunite with their families through spouse or family visas. Sunak stated, ‘Around 300,000 fewer people will come to the UK in future years than last year.’ The £38,700 that British nationals need to prove as their minimum salary will match the skilled worker’s financial requirement. 

Unfortunately, these new rules will impact many married couples with one spouse stranded in a different nation, and likely separate families from their children, parents, and loved ones.  

Workers 

Sunak mentioned the ‘abuse’ of Health and Care visas, disabling those workers from bringing dependants to the UK, despite the already underpaid and undervalued Health and Care workers getting the nation through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As well as increasing the minimum salary threshold for all skilled-worker visas to £38,700, Spring 2024 will also see a 66% increase of the annual immigration health surcharge from £624 to £1,035. 

Workers on the shortage occupation list face a new immigration salary list, with a reduced number of occupations and the end of the 20% going rate salary discount for shortage occupations. 

The tightening of rules for international workers will likely have a knock-on effect on the British economy and its workforce in the years to come. 

Students 

The government has stopped international students switching from the student route into work routes before completing their studies. Bachelor’s and Master’s students are now unable to bring dependents to the UK. Only postgraduate (Doctorate) students will be eligible. It is estimated that 153,000 dependent family members of international students were given UK visas in 2023 alone. 

How IAS can help you get your visa before Spring 2024 

Our skilled lawyers can assist families, workers, and students in navigating these new legal changes to UK migration. With the deadline for applying before these changes take effect fast approaching, we advise booking in with one of our team to get your application sent to the Home Office now. 

With our application package, our lawyers will collect the documents required for your visa, thoroughly check each detail, suggest improvement areas, and send off your application on your behalf to increase your chances of a successful visa outcome. 

Our lawyers understand the devastating impact these new changes will have on many families, and that is why we pride ourselves in our effective communication and support to keep you assured that we’re doing all we can to help you. 

With our document-checking service, we will review your application and inform you of any missing or incorrect documents. An incomplete application can lead to a rejected visa, which can impact any attempt at re-application that you may make. That is why we recommend enlisting the help of one of our professional immigration lawyers to get you your desired visa outcome. 

To begin your application before the changes take effect in a few short months, call us on 0333 305 9375 to ensure you stay in the new catchment. 

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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