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15 March 2024

New changes to the Skilled Worker route, minimum income requirements, and more

The British Government has released a new Statement of Changes covering a number of topics, as well as officially including previously announced Skilled Worker route changes in the immigration rules.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Skilled worker route 1

The new Statement of Changes issued by the Home Office on 14 March 2024 has a large scope, covering a wide range of different immigration rules. 

Some are changes we have known about for a while, but have only just been officially included in a Statement of Changes to be formally introduced. For example, changes to the Skilled Worker route.

Others are completely new additions to the rules. Lots of different aspects of the rules have received smaller changes as well.

Read on to learn what new rules the Government has announced. 

Skilled Worker route, Health and Care route, Immigration Salary List changes, and other Worker Visas

As we have already stated, many of the changes to the Skilled Worker route were already announced by the Government. They have just now been formally introduced in a Statement of Changes in preparation for their implementation.


Skilled Worker Visa and Health and Care Worker Visa changes

The Skilled Worker Visa salary threshold is increasing from £26,200, to £38,700 to be in line with median UK earnings in jobs eligible for the visa. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, people who hold a PhD or an undergraduate degree in a STEM field will not have this threshold applied to them.

Health and Care Worker Visa holders and those working in roles where wages are calculated using set national pay scales will have a salary threshold increase from £26,200 to £29,000. This also applies to those already on the Skilled Worker route, and those who apply to extend their stay or change their job before 4 April 2030.

Also, the Shortage Occupation List is going to be replaced by the Immigration Salary List on 4 April 2024. Some of the roles on the list will change, and the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will continue to revise the list throughout 2024. The new list also sees the removal of the 20% discount on the going rate for hiring employees in the roles, though there is a 20% discount on the salary threshold.

PLEASE NOTE: the Immigration Salary List has now been introduced; jobs on the list have a minimum salary requirement of £30,960. Employers must meet this salary threshold to hire for job roles on the new list. 


Other Worker Visas

There are also changes to the salary requirements of other Worker Visas: 

  • The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa general salary threshold is increasing from £45,800 to £48,500
  • Graduate Trainee Visas and Global Business Mobility Visas are seeing the general salary threshold increase from £24,200 to £25,410
  • Scale-up Visa general salary thresholds are going up from £34,600 to £36,300


Seasonal Worker Visa

  • The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage are increasing in April 2024, so the hourly rate for those on Seasonal Worker Visas will be increased in line with this
  • Some poultry workers on the Seasonal Worker Visa who are paid in line with the Skilled Worker Visa will also see the salary threshold increase from £26,200 to £38,700

Minimum income requirements for partners and children

As was also previously announced, British citizens applying to sponsor their spouse to come to the UK as part of the five-year partner route will now have to be earning £29,000 per year. The Government says this is so they can afford to financially support their family. 

Furthermore, children will no longer be separate in the rules for a British citizen sponsoring a foreign partner, so you will no longer have to have a higher salary threshold to bring children too. 

However, there are exceptional circumstances regarding the safeguarding of children where even if you do not meet the salary requirements, your partner may still be granted leave. 


Armed Forces minimum income requirements

Armed Forces personnel are also receiving a change to how much they need to earn to be able to sponsor partners and children. They will now have to be earning £23,496, which is the salary threshold for an Army Private and their counterparts in the Royal Marines, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force. 

EU Settlement Scheme updates

The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) has received updates regarding victims of domestic abuse. 

Anyone who is a spouse, civil partner, or a durable partner (has been with their partner for at least two years) and has pre-settled status under the EUSS, will now be included within the scope of the rules for victims of domestic abuse. 

This means that they will be able to get immediate settlement outside the usual immigration rules. They will also have access to public funds. 

It does not matter if the relationship was formed before, or after the transitional period of the UK leaving the EU.

People granted immediate settlement under the domestic abuse rules can still apply for settlement under the EUSS if they were eligible for it.

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BNO) route updates

The BNO Visa has received new updates after there being no changes for a while. 

People on the BNO Visa will be able to get further permission to stay with access to public funds, if they have previously had the ‘no access to public funds’ condition removed. They must continue to meet the eligibility requirements to get public funds.

Decision makers can now add 28 days to an applicant’s further permission to stay, if the applicant applied for a 30-month BNO Visa. This assists the visa holder in reaching the qualifying period for five years’ settlement, so they do not have to make an extra application.

Eligible family members who hold British National Overseas status and British citizenship can apply on the BNO route. Also, adult dependant relatives can now apply to join the main BNO Visa applicant later on, if they can no longer live independently.

There is also no longer a requirement for partners and adult dependants to have their permission to stay end on the same date as the main BNO Visa holder; they can now be given the full length of stay. 

Looking forward to the future

The Government has previously announced its intention to reduce net migration, with many of the changes mentioned in this Statement of Changes, such as Skilled Worker route updates, being a part of this. 

It is likely that the Government will announce more changes to the rules throughout the year, alongside the immigration rule changes that have already been announced.

We also already know that MAC will likely advise on more changes to be made to the Immigration Salary List, so we will keep you updated on anything that is announced.

How we can help

We can advise you on a range of immigration related topics, from visa applications, to Indefinite Leave to Remain and naturalisation

Book a free 10-minute consultation to talk to a member of our expert law team. During this, you can discuss your issue and our team can see if they can help you or not. After this, you can arrange a longer, paid consultation that lasts either 30 minutes, or an hour. 

Get in touch with us today to see what we can do for you. 

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions about the changes or want legal advice, contact
Woodcock Law & Notary Public today. Contact us by phone on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or
by email at info@woodcocklaw.co.uk.

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