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Work & Family Visa Reform key dates are announced by The Government

Work & Family Visa Reform key dates are announced by The Government
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The government released a five-point plan in December 2023 to reduce net migration to the lowest level ever and stop misuse of the immigration system.

The new set of policies will reduce the number of dependents entering the UK, raise the minimum wages required of foreign workers and British or settled individuals who wish to sponsor family members and address systemic exploitation in immigration.

A schedule for the implementation of these reforms has now been provided by the government in a formal ministerial statement dated January 30. Before each reform, a Statement of Changes with further information will be provided.

Below is a timeline of key dates that employers and visa applicants should keep in mind for 2024.

Care worker dependants

On 19 February, the government will publish a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules which will remove the right for care workers and senior carers to bring dependants with them to the UK. This will come into force on 11 March 2024.

The rules will also ensure that care providers in England can only sponsor migrant workers if they are undertaking activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Increased salary thresholds for Skilled Workers

On 14 March, another Statement of Changes will be released which sets out a new minimum salary threshold for those applying for a visa under the Skilled Worker route.

The minimum general salary threshold for Skilled Workers will rise by 48% from £26,200 to £38,700, coming into force from 4 April 2024.

Those already in the Skilled Worker route before the changes will be exempted from the higher salary threshold, as will those on the Health and Care Worker route and workers on national pay scale occupations.

Increased earnings threshold for family visas

The minimum income requirement for partners applying under Appendix FM is being increased, to bring it in line with the new minimum general salary threshold for Skilled Workers.

The minimum income for family visas will be increased incrementally in stages, with the first increase set to be outlined in the 14 March Statement of Changes.

From 11 April 2024, the minimum income requirement for this category will rise to £29,000. No dates have been announced for the further incremental increases, but the government has indicated that the final increase will be introduced by early 2025.

Those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold.

Other changes

The above reforms are in addition to further changes to the immigration rules that have already been announced and are set to come into effect on various dates throughout 2024:

  • The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme will be expanded to more nationalities this year, as part of a phased roll-out. The scheme was opened to Qatari nationals in November 2023. On 1 February 2024 the scheme will be extended to the remaining Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE – and Jordan. Other nationalities will be added to the scheme this year.
  • From 6 February 2024, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is increasing from £624 to £1,035 per year for adults, and from £470 to £776 per year for under 18s.
  • From 6 April 2024, the Home Office will remove the requirement for sponsors to renew their sponsor licence.
  • From early April, the 20% ‘going rate’ discount for shortage occupations is being removed, and the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is being replaced with a new Immigration Salary List (ISL).
  • As part of the moved towards a fully digital end-to-end immigration system, the government is phasing out physical documents such as Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and replacing them with eVisas. From 1 January 2025, holders will need to obtain a UKVI account to prove their status digitally.
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Daily Dazzling Dawn is the first and only international and non-profitable newspaper, which is 100% ownership of professional journalists from Bangladeshi origin with 20 years of experience in global journalism. The main aim of the newspaper is promoting ethical journalism with truth, accuracy and proficiency.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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