Home Office Announces Plans to Increase Income Threshold for Spouse, Family Visas and More

James Cleverly's New Plan to Reduce Net Migration in 2024

In a significant policy shift, Home Secretary James Cleverly has introduced a comprehensive immigration reform aimed at reducing net migration to Britain by an ambitious 300,000 per year. This move, pivotal in the current political landscape, involves various strategic changes to the UK’s immigration rules. 

At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we pride ourselves on keeping you up-to-date with the most recent immigration changes. Here, we delve into the key aspects of this plan and explore its potential implications.

Income Requirements for Spouse Visa, Fiance Visa, and ALL Family Visa Applications will Rise.

The reform will significantly raise the income requirement for British citizens and residents wishing to bring loved ones such as spouses, fiances, civil partners, and unmarried partnersfrom abroad as of Spring 2024. The new threshold is set at £38,700, more than double the current figure. This stringent measure is being planned to reduce the number of visas issued, making it much harder for those who wish to apply under the family visa route.

If your annual earnings are below £38,700 and you wish to sponsor your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner for a Family Visa in the UK, it’s crucial to act swiftly.

Postponing the application could result in failing to satisfy the financial requirements for your partner’s Spouse Visa, impacting not only your reunion but also the possibility of your children joining you in the UK. They can only be granted Family Visas if these financial conditions are met.

Currently, the sponsoring partner must have an income of at least £18,600. Additionally, there are extra financial requirements for children:

  • £3,800 annually for the first child
  • £2,400 annually for each subsequent child

As of now, it’s unclear whether the government will raise these additional income requirements per child. Without any changes, a sponsor would need to earn almost £45,000 per year to support a partner and two dependent children. However, these numbers are tentative, as the government has only released preliminary information without detailed specifics.

Immigration Health Surcharge Increase

Additionally, there’s a significant update on the immigration health surcharge. Foreign nationals planning to work or study in the UK will now face an increased surcharge, rising from £624 to £1,035 per person annually. 

Restricting Dependents for Care Workers

Another element of Cleverly’s plan is the restriction on care workers bringing family members to the UK. The rationale behind this is – by limiting the number of dependents entering the country, the overall migration figures are expected to decrease.

Skilled Worker Visa Salary Increase

The reform also introduces new salary thresholds for foreign workers. The minimum salary for a work visa will be raised to £38,700, a considerable increase from the current threshold (£26,200). Additionally, the 20% salary discount for sectors facing labour shortages is being removed.

Care Workers Exemption

Care workers are exempted from the new salary requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa. This exemption is made with the aim of preventing worsening labour shortages in care homes across the UK. The government anticipates that foreign nationals without dependants will continue to seek care roles in Britain, thus balancing the need for care workers with the overall migration reduction goals.

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Impact on Students

Students are not spared in these sweeping changes. The new policy will restrict most students from bringing dependants to the UK. Moreover, the ‘graduate route’, which permits students to work in the UK for two years post-study, is under review, suggesting further potential restrictions.

Political Reception and Implications

The ultimate objective of the Home Office plan is to bring net migration down to around 370,000 per year. The effectiveness and societal impact of these measures are set to be a significant talking point in the upcoming election.

Home Secretary James Cleverly’s plan marks a bold step in reshaping Britain’s approach to immigration. While aimed at substantial reductions in net migration, the plan’s success and its broader implications on the labor market, social dynamics, and the UK’s international standing remain to be seen. As the country moves towards the next election, these immigration policies will undoubtedly be at the forefront of political and public discourse.

While the laws are yet still to change and these new policies have not becoce effective as of yet, our legal team advise that you act fast if you have an immigration application on the horizon. We are here to answer any questions you may have with regard to the UK government’s changing stance on UK immigration and other legal areas. For expert advice and guidance, do not hesitate to contact us by filling out the form below. 

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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

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