2024 promises to be a year of remarkable shifts in the UK’s immigration landscape. From replacing the SOL to the rise in the skilled workers’ salary requirements, the rules of UK immigration have evolved a lot. Whether you’re planning to bring a loved one to this country or want to settle here, this guide will be helpful irrespective of your purpose. Dive in with us as we unpack the critical updates in immigration law, unravel the complexities, and equip you with the essential knowledge so you can accomplish your UK immigration journey in 2024 without any hassle. Let’s navigate these changes together!
Salary Threshold Rises for Skilled Worker Visas
The UK government will raise the earning threshold for foreign employees from £26,200 to £38,700 (roughly an upsurge of 50%). It is a significant increase that will be applicable from next spring and negatively impact those businesses that require overseas workforces to fill the talent gap caused by domestic labour shortages. Immigration lawyers in the UK are now predicting that it may cause a significant reduction in skilled worker applications in 2024.
Changes in the SOL
SOL, or the Shortage Occupation List, catalogs the roles of skilled workers currently undergoing a shortage of recruits. People coming to the UK to take on a role on the SOL will get the advantage of lower minimum salary requirements, relaxation in the skill level requirement, and cheaper application fees. Though the UK government has the final say on which jobs make it onto the list, they consider recommendations from a non-governmental organization called the Migration Advisory Committee(MAC). It is essential to know because the government will end the 20% going-rate salary discount for SOL.
If you come to the UK for a job on the Shortage Occupation List(SOL), you get a 20% discount on the usual salary requirement. As a result, you can qualify for a visa even if you earn slightly less. The authority will soon update the SOL with a new immigration salary list, which the Migration Advisory Committee will review.
Family Visa Income Threshold Jump
The UK government initially announced that the salary requirement to bring family members to this country would jump from £18,600 to £29,000 in spring 2024. This shocked everyone, including people already trying to bring their families over. Thankfully, they will get a little extra time and won’t need to earn quite that much right away.
The new changes will also heavily impact women as recent reports suggest that around 75% of female overseas workers earn less than £38,700 while the same for men is 60%. Due to this reason, the top immigration lawyers in the UK are saying that the dramatic salary increase for sponsoring family members will make it much harder for British citizens and residents to bring their families to live with them.
New Policy Restricts Care Worker Dependents
James Cleverly, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, has said that he will remove the ability of overseas care workers to bring their families to the UK, just like the department did with students, except for those doing extra studying after their degree. This new rule is expected to lower the immigration numbers by about 120,000 people. The same may also make the UK less appealing for care workers.
Digitalization of the Immigration System
The UK government is introducing digitalization in the immigration system. For this reason, the physical Biometric Residence Permits(BRPs) will no longer be required starting 1 January 2025. It means candidates can finally go paperless to prove their immigration status online. The UK government will announce how this will work, so watch for updates.
These are the five significant changes in the UK immigration law. Kindly note that the list doesn’t end here. For example, this post has not covered the removal of the Graduate Visa and the rollout of Electronic Travel Authorisation(ETA). Otherwise, the article would be even longer. You can consult with one of our immigration lawyers in the UK to discuss these updates in detail and plan your visa accordingly.
We, Intime Immigration Limited(Intime Solicitors), are a leading UK immigration law firm committed to helping clients in all areas of immigration law. Contact us now if you are seeking advice and representation from one of the best immigration lawyers in the UK.