The UK’s immigration scene is about to undergo a significant shift, with a five-point plan announced by Home Secretary James Cleverly promising reduced immigration through stricter visa rules. While details are still emerging, understanding the proposed changes can help you plan your visa journey effectively.
Here’s a breakdown of the key points:
- Social care workers: Bringing dependants on their visas will no longer be possible.
- Skilled Worker visa: The minimum salary requirement jumps from £26,200 to £38,700 (except for healthcare roles and education staff on national pay scales).
- Shortage occupation list: Expect significant cuts, limiting opportunities for overseas workers below the new salary threshold.
- Spouse/partner visa: Prepare for a hefty bump in the minimum sponsor income, increasing from £18,600 to £38,700.
- Graduate visa: The two-year post-study work permit scheme will be reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee.
While the changes are expected to roll out in “next spring,” specifics remain unclear. Existing visa applications and extensions before the implementation date will not be affected.
Advance Warning and Parliamentary Involvement:
Formal announcements before the changes take effect are likely, but expect a minimum 21-day window between announcement and enforcement. Parliament may choose to vote on annulment within 40 days of the changes being laid before them.
Impact on Existing Visa Holders:
Details are still being finalized, but the higher income thresholds might apply to visa renewals as well. Consult the latest government updates for confirmed details.
Income Options and Savings Alternatives:
Combining applicant and sponsor income is an option for extensions and permanent residence, not initial applications. Savings exceeding £16,000 and exceptional circumstances can still potentially qualify you despite not meeting the income threshold.
Several European countries, like Belgium, implement similar minimum income requirements for spouse visa sponsorship. The UK ranked second-to-last in family reunion ease across 56 countries in a recent Migrant Integration Policy Index, likely due to factors like such requirements.
Skilled Worker Visa Changes for Existing Holders:
Conflicting information exists, but expect transitional arrangements for those already on the Skilled Worker visa at the current salary threshold.
Regularly check the Home Office website and visa application guidance for the latest updates and specifics. Consulting with immigration experts can also be valuable for navigating the changing landscape and maximizing your visa success chances.
Remember, this is a developing situation, and further details will emerge in the coming months. Stay informed, adapt your plans as needed, and seek professional guidance if necessary to chart your successful journey through the UK’s evolving visa landscape.