From next spring, the government will increase the earning threshold for overseas workers by nearly 50% from its current position of £26,200 to £38,700, encouraging businesses to look to British talent first and invest in their workforce. The government officials said, we are curbing abuses of the healthcare visa, increasing thresholds, cutting the shortage occupations list discount, increasing family income requirements and cutting the number of student dependents.
How does the points-based system work?
Applicants need enough points to qualify for a skilled worker visa.
All applicants need to get the initial 50 points from having a job offer above a minimum skill level and speaking English.
The remaining 20 points may come from a combination of salary, working in a shortage occupation or having a relevant PhD.
The standard fee for a skilled visa is usually between £719 and £1,500 and applicants also have to pay a £624 healthcare surcharge for each year of their stay.
The health surcharge will now increase to £1,035 a year.
What is the ‘shortage occupation list’?
A “shortage occupation list” exists to help employers fill certain roles.
These jobs have a lower salary threshold, making it easier for applicants to gain the required number of points to get a visa.
Jobs currently on the list include:
Employers were able to pay foreign workers 80% of the job’s usual “going rate” to fill those positions. This will be abolished from next spring.
Labour had criticised the measure as a “salary discount” which they say allowed employers to undercut local wages.
From spring 2024, overseas care workers will no longer be allowed to bring family dependents with them.
The government says it will also review the occupation shortage list and reduce the number of occupations on it.
What about seasonal workers?
For 2023 and 2024 there are between 45,000 and 55,000 seasonal worker visas available, plus another 2,000 for poultry workers.
There is an application fee of £298. Workers must be paid at the minimum wage.
How has Brexit changed immigration?
Before Brexit, European Union and UK citizens had the freedom to live, work or study in any EU country without needing a work visa.
However, this freedom of movement came to an end on 1 January 2021.
In the 12 months to June 2023, net EU migration was -86,000. This means more EU nationals left the UK than arrived.
Net migration of non-EU nationals – the difference between those arriving and those leaving – was 768,000.
Net migration of British nationals was -10,000. More British people left the UK than came back.