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Legal insights & industry updates

| 1 minute read

Significant plans announced to cut net migration

The government recently announced a new plan for immigration which impact both UK businesses and British families. The announcement follows the recent release of figures by the Office for National Statistics showing that net migration is at an all time high. 

There have been recent rumours circulating regarding a possible increase to the minimum salary for skilled workers, but yesterday’s announcement not only goes further than expected, with a higher than anticipated new general salary threshold for skilled workers, but also proposes increases for British citizens and settled people wishing to bring their family to the UK. 

The headline proposed changes are:

  1. Skilled worker general salary threshold to increase from £26,200 to £38,700 per annum; 
  2. Health and care workers to be excluded from increase in general salary threshold but overseas care workers will be prevented from bringing their dependants 
  3. 20% salary reduction for shortage occupation list (SOL) roles to be scrapped and SOL to be replaced by new immigration salary list;
  4. Minimum income threshold for British citizens and settled people to be able to bring their family members to the UK to increase by more than 100% from £18,600 to £38,700 per annum;
  5. Graduate route to be reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee. 

The initial reaction for industry has been far from positive. Unison has warned that the proposed changes ‘spell total disaster for the NHS and social care’ , and UKHospitality has warned that the proposals will ‘only worsen the shortages hospitality businesses are facing’. 

Mixed nationality families could also be affected with the minimum income threshold set to increase from £18,600 per annum to £38,700 per annum, which is over a 100% increase. This will price many families out of the visa system, with the potential of it having a disproportionate effect on those living outwith London and the South East, part time workers and British citizens hoping to return to the UK with their foreign national partners. 

Yesterday’s announcement lacked detail which will leave many businesses and families concerned about how the changes might impact them. When past changes have been introduced to the immigration rules, there have often been transitional provisions protecting those individuals already within the system. It is hoped that this will be the case here but as always, the devil will be in the detail. With the plans purported to be coming into force in Spring 2024, those affected will do well to consider whether their timeline for making visa applications should be brought forward to get ahead of the changes. 


net migration, immigration, skilled worker, care workers, health and care visa