The United Kingdom has seen significant changes in its government policy on immigration over the years. Traditionally, the UK has had a relatively open immigration policy, allowing individuals from various countries to come and live in the country. However, in recent times, there have been notable shifts in the government’s approach to immigration. The Home Secretary, James Cleverly, recently announced changes to the government’s immigration policy, which will have a significant impact on employers, migrant workers, and those looking to bring spouses to the UK.
On 17th July 2023 it was announced that from 1st January 2024 International Students whose courses commence from 1st January 2024 will be prevented from bringing in their dependents. There were some exceptions to this rule change, such as for students undertaking a PhD or Doctoral qualification, and students intending to take researched based Masters based degrees. Another significant change was the prevention of Students applying to switch into work related roles, including but limited to the Skilled Worker routes before the completion of their courses. The Home Office however permitted Students to submit applications for Work related Immigration routes where their start dates would commence on a date after the completion of their course.
One other significant change was the rise in Immigration related fees for Employers seeking to hire migrant workers with respect to Sponsor License related costs and fees for Migrant Workers to apply for work related visas including the Skilled Worker visa. This came into effect on 4th October 2023.
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Changes announced on 4th December 2023
The changes announced on 4th December 2023, by the Home Office Secretary have certainly caught the attention of Employers, Migrant Workers and Potential Migrant Workers, Persons on the Partner Route and those intending to get on it as well as other migrants and other potential migrants. Employers have already been hit by a hike in fees for Sponsorship applications and related costs arising from increases in the New Living Wage set to come into effect from 1st April 2024. In addition to this, they will need to be aware of the following changes that have cost implications for employers hiring migrants or intending to do so:§ From 16th January 2024, the Immigration Health Charge will increase from £624 to £1035 per year.
From Spring 2024, the minimum salary that can be paid to a migrant will increase to £38,700, currently the minimum salary is £26,200, and in certain cases lower. The 20% going rate salary discount for shortage applications will be replaced with a new Salary list and this list will be reviewed against increased salary thresholds. Care Workers will not be affected by the new salary thresholds, and there will be some concessions for Teachers. Care Workers will also be prevented from bringing in dependents.
Reference : Omayemi Mac-Jaja