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Changes to legal migration rules for family and work visas in 2024

The Home Office has announced a timetable for upcoming changes to the UK’s migration and visa systems.

What are the five changes?

1. Social care workers will not be allowed to bring dependants (that is, partners and children) on their visa.

2. The baseline minimum salary to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa will rise from £26,200 to £38,700 (but not for the Health and Care Worker visa, which includes social care, or for education workers on national pay scales).

3. Changes to the shortage occupation list to reduce the number of jobs where it will be possible to sponsor overseas workers below the usual minimum salary (which is the main purpose of the list).

4. The minimum income normally required to sponsor someone for a spouse/partner visa will rise in stages to £18,600 per year to £29,000 and ultimately around £38,700.

5. The Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa, a two-year unsponsored work permit for overseas graduates of British universities.

When will the changes happen?

1. Banning newly arriving care workers from bringing immediate family will happen on 11 March 2024.

2. The Skilled Worker minimum salary increase will happen on 4 April 2024.

3. Initial changes to the shortage occupation list will also happen in April 2024 (very likely 4 April); the Migration Advisory Committee is working on its recommendation for the new list.

4. The spouse/partner visa minimum income will first increase to £29,000 on 11 April 2024; to around £34,500 at an unspecified time later in 2024; and finally to around £38,700 “by early 2025”.

5. The Home Office was supposed to commission the Migration Advisory Committee to begin work on the Graduate visa review in January 2024 (but had not yet done so at time of writing), with the committee expected to report in late 2024.

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