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New Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules: What You Need to Know

On 9th March the Government published a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules with a number of important and far-reaching changes. Immigration is already one of the most contentious policy areas so far this year and keeping up to date with the changes can be a strenuous and unending task.

With the aim of alleviating this stress for businesses and individuals most affected, we have summarised the biggest changes in this article. For the full changes, alongside an Explanatory Memorandum, please follow this link

New Innovator Founder Route

Following the introduction of the Innovator Visa back in 2019 which had particularly high thresholds for eligibility, this new Innovator Founder route brings promise for those wanting to set up a genuine and novel business in the UK. This will be open to new applicants from 13 April 2023. The Start-up route will no longer be accepting new applications and endorsements from 13 April 2023.

Addressing previous concerns, the new Innovator Founder route no longer requires applicants to have funds of £50,000 and now permits them to carry out secondary employment outside the running of their business. The hope is that this new Innovator Founder route will attract the brightest and most skilful to the UK. It is an attempt by the UK government to boost the number of applicants and encourage larger UK investments to strengthen the economy.

Introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) Scheme

UK immigration policy this year has prioritised strict security and safety at the border. The newly formed ETA is another step in this direction.

The scheme applies to individuals of certain nationalities who are merely visiting or travelling through the UK and do not require a visa. It is due to start operation from 15 November 2023 with citizens of Qatar required to apply, and will be extended to citizens of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE from 15 February 2024.

The process and practicalities of this new scheme is yet to be released. However, further nationalities will be added to the scheme on a phased basis and it will eventually be a requirement for all visitors who do not need visas for short term stays.

Salary Requirement Increase – Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility

In line with national inflation, the government has increased the minimum salary requirement for those on the Skilled Worker route from £25,600 to £26,200. For the Global Business Mobility: Senior or Specialist route (“GBMSS”), the salary requirements are now £45,800 and £24,220, respectively, and for Scale-up Worker visas, the salary requirement is £34,600.

Anyone in the process of applying for any of these visa routes, including employers, will need to understand these changes as applications risk refusal if they do not comply.

At Irwin Mitchell, we understand that these changes can be daunting for any individual or business that is affected. Our dedicated immigration team can assist you with any of these changes and can provide you with comprehensive legal advice. If you would like to learn more about Irwin Mitchell’s immigration services, please contact Mandeep Khroud via email: