The Home Secretary, James Cleverly, made a statement in the House of Commons on December 6 setting out a new set of measures that, according to the Home Office, should reduce net migration by 300,000. The headline is that the minimum salary for new Skilled Worker visas will increase by a third to £38,700.

The change will happen in the Spring of 2024 (between March 20 and June 20) and will apply to all Skilled Workers aside from Health and Care Worker visas. It is not yet known if there will continue to be a lower rate for younger workers and other new entrants. It is inferred that the change will only apply to new applicants and will not be expected to increase salaries for workers who are already sponsored. That was not explicitly dealt with in the statement, but seems unlikely although it remains to be seen.

The salary increase was part of a wider package aimed at reducing net migration. In addition to the Immigration Health Surcharge increasing to £1,035 per year, the Home Secretary's announced the following new measures:

  • The 20% discount for roles within the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will also be abolished. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will also be commissioned to look at new ways to reforming the SOL, with a view to reducing the number of jobs in the list, and putting together a new 'Immigration Salary List'.
  • International students will only be allowed to bring in dependents if they are studying postgraduate research degree.
  • The MAC will also be commissioned to review the current Graduate route with a view to stamping out abuse and reducing the amount of post-graduates who apply for the visa.
  • Careworkers will be prevented from bringing in dependents. The Care Quality Commission will take up a new role of regulating the sector's sponsorship and compliance matters.
  • Settled or British nationals applying for family visas will now be required to earn a minimum salary of £38,700, jumping from the current threshold of £18,600.

These proposals are wide ranging and may impact organisations recruitment and retention of sponsored workers. Vialto Partners will continue to review details of the policy and advise chamber members accordingly.

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