News & Insights

Spring’s Statement of Changes for Immigration

The Immigration Rules Statement of Changes for Spring 2024 represents a significant sea change, particularly for employers recruiting Skilled Workers.

Skilled Workers

The general minimum salary threshold for new Skilled Workers has increased from £26,200 to £38,700. Various changes have been made to the Skilled Occupation Codes, and higher going rates have been introduced for these, set at the median, an increase from the 25th percentile (according to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings) for the relevant occupation.  What this means in practice, is that migrants need to be paid more than half of the people in similar roles comparted to the 25th percentile which would reflect a quarter or people in similar roles.

As expected, the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) has been replaced by the new Immigration Salary List (ISL). The ISL features fewer roles than the SOL – some occupations in which there are skills shortages, such as in programming and software development, have been entirely removed. Roles on the ISL will benefit from a reduced general salary threshold of £30,960. Special salary provisions remain for Health and Care workers and education workers.

The changes also affect those who are currently on Skilled Worker visas – when applying to extend their visa or switch to a new employer, a minimum general salary threshold will apply of £29,000. There are also changes to going rates, though these will not be as high as for those making new Skilled Worker visa applications.

Other Work Routes

Minimum salaries are also being increased in other work routes, to reflect the latest ONS data. These include the Senior or Specialist Worker (from £45,800 to £48,500) and Graduate Trainee (from £24,220 to £25,410) routes under the Global Business Mobility category, the Scale-up visa (from £34,600 to £36,300), and some poultry workers under the Seasonal Worker visa.

Family Visas

The minimum income requirements for those applying under the five-year partner and child routes has also increased. The new minimum income is £29,000 for new applicants, up from £18,600. It is expected that a further increase to this minimum income will be introduced later in 2024.

Electronic Travel Authorisation

The Electronic Travel Authorisation is for visa-exempt travellers (non-visa nationals).

Individuals from the EU and other European countries as well as other visa-exempt countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore will need to apply for an ETA in order to travel to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, business, short-term studies or medical treatment.  This scheme is currently in operation for a limited number of nationalities.  It is expected to be rolled out to all nationalities by the end of 2024.

If you have any questions about the new Rules, or would like support with sponsoring a worker or with your own visa application, please get in touch at [email protected]