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UK 2024: Closing Doors on Immigration

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By Sanwar Ali:

Sweeping Overhauls in UK Immigration 2024: An In-depth Analysis of the Sponsor Licence Scheme and Skilled Worker Visa Changes

The United Kingdom is on the verge of implementing substantial changes to its immigration requirements in early 2024. The changes will have far-reaching implications for UK businesses, overseas workers, and families. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding and analysis of the key changes in the Sponsor Licence Scheme and Skilled Worker Visa.

UK Immigration 2024: Major Changes in Salary Threshold

Salary Threshold Increase for Skilled Workers

The most prominent change in the UK immigration 2024 landscape is the significant increase in the salary threshold for Skilled Workers. The baseline threshold, currently at £26,200, will rise nearly 50% to £38,700 come April 2024. This dramatic salary threshold increase will significantly impact the ability of UK businesses to sponsor overseas workers, potentially leading to a talent crunch in certain sectors.

Implications of Family Visa Income Threshold Hike

The annual gross income requirement for UK citizens and permanent residents sponsoring their foreign partners and children is also set to increase from £18,600 to £38,700. This price hike has raised eyebrows, given its potential human rights implications and the likelihood of legal challenges. With the income threshold set at the 75th centile of average UK earnings, the new rule could potentially exclude three-quarters of the British population from sponsoring a partner or child from overseas.

Key Workers and Dependent Restrictions: The Exceptions and the Implications

Exemptions for Key Workers

Fortunately, the UK government has exempted certain categories of workers from the salary increase. Health and Social Care visa applicants, as well as workers on national pay scales such as teachers, will not be subject to the increased salary threshold. This exemption could help maintain the inflow of crucial healthcare personnel and education professionals into the UK.

Health and Care Worker Visa: New Dependent Restrictions

However, the government's decision to end the ability of sponsored healthcare workers to bring family members to the UK has garnered criticism. This restriction, which exclusively targets one category of workers, could deter potential applicants, thereby exacerbating the existing labour shortages in the healthcare sector.

Rising Costs: The Impact of the Immigration Health Surcharge Increase

UK immigration 2024 will also witness a significant rise in the Immigration Health Surcharge. This increase will add to the financial burdens faced by potential migrants, possibly deterring some from seeking to live and work in the UK.

Digitalization and System Changes: A Move towards Efficiency

Phasing Out Biometric Residence Permits

The UK government aims to digitalize the immigration system, thereby phasing out physical Biometric Residence Permits by the end of 2024. The move towards online immigration statuses is expected to streamline processes and increase efficiency.

Shifting from Shortage Occupation List to Immigration Salary List

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be replaced by an Immigration Salary List (ISL), which will mean a lower salary for certain roles. The operational details and implications of this new system are yet to be clarified.

Review of the Graduate Route

The government has also commissioned a review of the Graduate visa route. This scheme, which provides a streamlined path into the workforce for international students, could potentially be altered or scrapped, thus impacting student enrolment in UK universities.

Legal and Human Rights Considerations

The increased family visa income threshold might face legal challenges on grounds of human rights, as it will disproportionately affect lower-income UK residents.

Impact on Labor Market and Business Reaction

These changes could lead to labour shortages in certain sectors, particularly those traditionally reliant on overseas workers. The business community has voiced concerns about the potential impact on the UK's labour market post-Brexit.

In conclusion, the sweeping changes in UK immigration 2024, particularly in the Sponsor Licence Scheme and Skilled Worker Visa, will significantly reshape the UK's immigration landscape and labour market dynamics. As we move closer to the implementation date, it will be crucial for businesses, potential migrants, and legal experts to stay informed and prepare for the changes ahead.

How Can Help with Sponsor Licences

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and applying for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, HR responsibilities, etc can help.

For more information and advice, please contact us at 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)