Dates for Rule Changes for Family and Work Visas Announced for March and April 2024

Following on from our recent article on the Immigration Health Surcharge Increase and the Change of Minimum Income for Family Visas, the government has recently set a timeline for further changes to the Immigration rules.

This is part of their 5-point plan to reduce immigration, which, unfortunately, is being touted as a benefit to win votes for the upcoming election. We wrote an article detailing the five changes when they were announced, but here is a quick recap:

  • The minimum income required for a Spouse or Partner Visa will rise, in stages, from £18,600 per year to around £38,700 per year.
  • Social Care Workers will not be allowed to bring family members as dependents.
  • The minimum salary for Skilled Workers will rise from £26,200 to £38,700 (except for Health and Social Care and Education Workers).
  • The Shortage Occupation List will be changed to reduce the number of occupations in which overseas workers can be sponsored for below the usual minimum salary.
  • The Graduate Visa (a two-year visa for overseas graduates) will be reviewed.

What is the timeline for the changes?

The government recently announced start dates for the proposed changes in a publication titled ” Home Secretary underlines commitment to cut net migration” and also on the House of Commons Library website in the Research Briefing “Changes to legal migration rules for family and work visas in 2024,” which was published on Tuesday the 30th of January 2024. The main dates are:

  • The Spouse / Partner Visa income threshold will rise to £29,000 on the 11th of April 2024 and then to £34,500 later in 2024. By early 2025, it will increase to £38,700.
  • Social Care Workers will not be allowed to bring family members as dependents starting on the 11th of March 2024.
  • The minimum salary for Skilled Workers will rise on the 4th of April 2024.
  • Changes to the Shortage Occupation List will begin in April 2024 – probably on the 4th of April.
  • A Home Office review of Graduate Visas was supposed to begin in January 2024 but has not yet done so; they are supposed to report in late 2024.

Changes to apply to New Visa Applicants

Although this was not initially the case, the government has recently confirmed that the changes to both the Spouse / Partner and Skilled Worker income thresholds will only affect new applicants.

Applicants who have already been granted visas in either category before the changes come into effect will be subject to the same income thresholds as when they were last granted their visa. This will be welcome news to those already here who are worried about meeting the new income thresholds and dependant ban. It goes without saying that if you can apply for any of the affected visas, apply NOW!

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Cross Border Legal Solicitors Ltd is a UK law firm regulated under the Solicitor Regulations Authority. It is Headed by Mr Tito Mbariti, a UK Immigration and Human Rights Solicitor who is a practising lawyer and member of the Law Society of England and Wales.