Following our update on 11 December 2023, the Home Office continues to drip feed detail over its planned changes to immigration for Spring 2024.
As we know, the government plan to significantly increase the minimum salary level for skilled workers to £38,700 per year. Previously the government had confirmed that this change would not affect those applying for visas now, only applications from Spring onwards. However, it was unclear what will happen for current skilled worker visa holders who will need to renew their visas once the new minimum salary levels are in place.
On the 20th of December, tucked away in written questions to the Home Office here, the government confirmed:
Until the Immigration Rules are amended next Spring, the current salary and Minimum Income Requirement thresholds, and policies relating to dependants, remain in place and at the current levels. Those already in the Skilled work route, and applications made before the rules change, will not be subject to the new £38,700 salary threshold when they change employment, extend, or settle.
This is welcomed news for existing skilled worker visa holders who were understandably concerned that they would not meet minimum salary levels when renewing their visas, enabling them to remain in the UK in their roles. Employers too will be relieved by this position.
Today we also heard news that the government has changed its stance on minimum salary levels for family visas. Again earlier this month the Home Office announced that minimum salary levels for family visas would also be increased to £38,700. The position has changed, and the minimum salary will be increased but it will initially be set at £29,000 with further increases planned in due course (£34,500 and then to £38,700 on dates to be confirmed). This slight improvement to family visas will be welcomed by some but it still represents a significant increase to current minimum salary levels and undoubtedly will impact family migration to the UK.
We are still awaiting the full details of the changes planned for Spring and we will keep you updated.