UK to Implement a New Migration Package| Glimpse of Spring 2024

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Written by: Liez Comendador
UK to Implement a New Migration Package Glimpse of Spring

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Interior Minister James Cleverly announced on Monday new measures for immigrants, which is to take effect from next year’s Spring Statement, aimed at cutting net migration. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that the net migration had hit a record of 745,000 in 2022, offset by 557,000 emigrants.  

The statistics contradicted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to curb new arrivals, pressuring the PM to implement tougher visa rules to add to the higher visa fees. In 2015, before the Brexit referendum, the net migration was at a mere 329,000. However, the recent special visa schemes for Ukraine and Hong Kong attracted 114,000 and 52,000 arrivals, respectively.  

Moreover, certain sectors requested approval from the government to hire overseas staff to counteract labour shortages. Add to it the previous years’ illegal migration of tens of thousands of people arriving in the UK from continental Europe through small boats.  

The UK government is currently performing an extensive overhaul, arriving at new salary thresholds for skilled foreign workers, Shortage Occupation List (SOL) reform and ongoing assessments, and more. “This package plus our reduction in student dependents will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year,” Cleverly stated. 

The new migration rules package is set to be included in the Spring Statement 2024, alongside further updates on the currently examined aspects. Here are the latest highlights as Cleverly announced: 

Salary Threshold Increase

Skilled overseas workers who want a UK visa will have to earn £38,700 instead of the lower threshold of £26,200, which is over a third more. However, health and social care workers, as well as teachers with national pay scales, are exempted, which means they can still get a visa despite remaining in the lower salary threshold but restricted from bringing family dependents. 

Only 15 out of approximately 250 job categories pay above £38,700

Shortage Occupation List (SOL)

Visa applicants on shortage roles will no longer receive a 20 per cent discount, as SOL will be replaced with a new Immigration Salary List with a generic wage threshold discount. The Migration Advisory Committee is actively reviewing which job categories would be retained in the list. This is to prevent many low-wage sector firms from taking advantage of cheap overseas labour rather than recruiting local workers.

Family Visa

The new minimum salary threshold for a family visa will increase to £38,70 from £18,600, a 50 per cent increase. Furthermore, foreign healthcare workers can no longer bring any family members to the UK on dependent visas. All these are to ensure that immigrants will only bring family members they can fully financially support.

Student Dependents Restriction

Alongside the increased family wage threshold to obtain a visa, international students will also deal with tougher restrictions on bringing family dependents. The Migration Advisory Committee is set to review the graduate visa route specifically, a post-study work visa.

National Health Service (NHS) Surcharge Increase

Cleverly also reaffirmed that migrants can only access NHS benefits when they can pay the increased NHS surcharge of 66 per cent, equivalent to £1,035, which may be taxing for the overseas workers as they also pay National Insurance, directly deducted from their pay.
The intensive migration measures overhaul is still ongoing, and it is yet unclear whether overseas healthcare workers will be exempted from the higher wage threshold given the post-Brexit staff shortage. To stay updated about the latest UK news and affairs, subscribe to our newsletter today. And for your tax and business advisory needs, Legend Financial is here to help. 

Reference:

Cleverly to announce salary threshold rise as part of new migration package. 4 December 2023. Retrieved from The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/dec/04/cleverly-to-announce-salary-threshold-rise-as-part-of-new-migration-package 

UK to raise minimum salary for foreign skilled workers. 5 December 2023. Retrieved from Taylor Wessing:
https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2023/12/uk-to-raise-minimum-salary-for-foreign-skilled-workers 

UK announces rise in salary threshold for foreign workers visas to cut immigration. 5 December 2023. Retrieved from Reuters:
https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-announces-rise-salary-threshold-foreign-workers-visas-cut-immigration-2023-12-04/ 

UK announces rise in salary threshold for foreign workers’ visas. 4 December 2023. Retrieved from Al Jazeera:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/12/4/uk-announces-rise-in-salary-threshold-for-foreign-workers-visas 

UK raises minimum salary for skilled migrant worker visa. 4 December 2023. Retrieved from France 24:
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20231204-uk-raises-minimum-salary-for-skilled-migrant-worker-visa 

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    Apart from being a partner at Legend Financial, Junaid is an expert on Business Tax including business management advisory services which has proven in the growth of company. He is a promising advisor with an ideology; "Any business success depends on the level of objectivity it maintains."

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