The Home Office published a statement of changes providing further details and additional updates to immigration rules intended to reduce net migration.

Key Points:

  • As BAL previously reported, the Home Office announced a plan in December to cut net migration by 300,000 by reducing the number of dependents coming to the United Kingdom and increasing the minimum salaries required for overseas workers and family visa applications.
  • The Home Office announced a statement of changes outlining additional measures in partnership with the net migration reduction plan, including:
    • Beginning April 4, the minimum general salary threshold and going rates for skilled workers will increase.
      • Employers of skilled workers must meet the requirements for the new minimum general salary threshold or the going rate for the role, whichever is greater. For new hires the going rate will be based on the median earnings for the specific occupation (it is currently based on the 25th percentile).
      • The minimum general salary threshold required for those arriving on a skilled worker visa will increase from £26,200 to £38,700 (about US$48,700), effective April 4.
    • The Immigration Salary List will replace the Shortage Occupation List, effective April 4, and will maintain the 20% discount of the general salary threshold for occupations included on the list. The 20% discount on going rates will be abolished.
    • The minimum income threshold for those bringing dependents on family visas is set to increase beginning April 11.
      • From this date, British citizens and people with indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. will need to earn at least £29,000 annually (about US$36,804) to bring a family member from abroad, which is an increase from £18,600.
      • Additional income for children will be no longer be required, and the new minimum income threshold will be a flat rate as opposed to the previous £3,800 per child additional financial requirement.
    • Additionally, health and care workers will be exempt from the new median going rate salary requirements but will be subject to an increased general salary threshold of £29,000 (up from £26,200).
    • The U.K. government will also broaden the work that sponsored workers can perform and increase the minimum salary threshold for the graduate trainee visa (from £24,220 to £25,410) and the scale-up visa (from £34,600 to £36,300).

Additional Information: Individuals will qualify for the current salary thresholds if they submit their applications using a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) assigned prior to April 4 or if they maintain a work permit status and/or a continuous permission to reside in the country and they are extending their stay or changing employers.

BAL Analysis: The measures represent significant changes to the immigration system and are designed to reduce the number of migrants coming to the U.K. Employers should be aware of the increased salary thresholds and their requirements to meet the new general salary thresholds or the going rate for the respective occupation.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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