2024 Immigration Rules Reform Visa Routes

2024 Immigration Rules Reform Visa Routes
Legally reviewed by: Nisha Leel Updated: In: Immigration

2024 Changes to UK Visas

New Immigration Rules UK

The UK government has implemented it’s 5-point plan, making significant changes to the immigration system, particularly impacting the Skilled Worker route. While aimed at reducing net migration these reforms introduce measures to attract highly skilled individuals, potentially benefiting businesses seeking top talent. The following article will cover changes to Skilled Worker Visas, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, and standard UK Visitor Visas.

New Immigration Rules UK: Skilled Worker Visas

Starting on the 4th April 2024, the Skilled Worker Visa will receive significant updates including:

  • Higher Salary Thresholds:
    Businesses sponsoring skilled workers will need to pay a higher minimum salary of £38,700 per year than before, increasing from £26,000. There’s also a “going rate” for each job title that may be even higher. This change exempts healthcare workers, such as doctors and nurses, aligning the salary threshold with the median wage for eligible skilled roles. 
    For current Skilled Worker visa holders, the new salary threshold will not apply to extensions or changes in employment within the visa category.
  • Exceptions for Some Highly Skilled Applicants:
    The new rules offer ways for certain skilled workers to qualify for a visa even if their salary doesn’t meet the standard threshold. This applies to PhD holders in relevant fields, recent graduates, and those with jobs on a special government list.
  • Updates for Current Visa Holders:
    The new salary thresholds don’t apply to those who already have a Skilled Worker visa and want to extend their stay or change employers within the visa category.

In short, the new rules aim to attract highly skilled workers to the UK by making it easier for some to qualify, while also setting a higher salary benchmark for sponsored roles.

If you’re a business unsure about how the changes affect you, Cartwright King Solicitors can help. They can advise on eligibility, applications, and navigating the new regulations.

Spouse Visa Updates

From the 11th April 2024, the first time spouse visa applicants income requirement will rise to £29,000. This is further expected to rise to £34,500 and £38,700 in the future. If the applicant has children, an additional £3,800 per year is needed for the first child. This is followed by an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child. To meet the financial requirements the following sources of income will be considered:

  • Income from employment or self-employment
  • Pension of the applicant and/or partner
  • Maternity allowances or bereavement benefits received by the partner in the UK.
  • Any other income and/or savings specified by the applicant and/or partner.

The Spouse Visa increases will not affect those already on a Spouse/Family Visa route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or those holding a fiancé visa prior to the changes.  

Read more about Spouse or Civil Partner Visas.

Student Visa Updates

From 1st January 2024, increased restrictions have been places on international students’ dependants, unless they are enrolled in PhD or research-based higher degree programs.

The Graduate Visa (Post-Study Work) remains under review.  

Read further about the recent updates to the student visa here.

Standard UK Visitor Visa Updates

The Visitor Visa category was updated on the 7th December 2023 to allow a broader range of activities. This includes client work and remote work. The update includes the removal of restrictions on working directly with UK clients as part of intra-corporate activates. As a result, visitors are allowed to undertake permitted paid engagements without a specific visa as long as these are organised before arrival and completed within 30 days.

Read further about Visitor Visas and Transit Visas

How Our Immigration Solicitors Can Help with the New Immigration Rules

The new immigration rules bring significant changes across several visa categories that will affect both individuals and businesses. Cartwright King can help individuals and businesses understand these changes. Get in contact today on 03458 941 622 or get in contact online.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.