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Changes to the Immigration Rules coming into force in April 2024

On 14 March 2024, the Home Office published a 292-page document detailing upcoming changes to the Immigration Rules. Irwin Mitchell's Immigration team is in the process of dissecting these changes and considering how they may impact our clients, but, for now, we provide a summary of some key changes to be expected in April 2024.

4 April 2024: An Increase of the Minimum Salary Threshold under the Skilled Worker route

On 4 April 2024, the minimum general salary threshold for a Skilled Worker visa will soar from £26,200 to £38,700 per annum. In addition to this, the ‘going rate’ thresholds of eligible occupation codes will be increased in line with the median full-time wage for equivalent jobs in 2023.

However, it is important to note that individuals who already hold valid leave under the Skilled Worker category or who have a Certificate of Sponsorship assigned to them before 4 April 2024 will not be subject to the new £38,700 general threshold when they:

  • submit applications to extend their stay in the UK; or 
  • change their employment in the UK; or,
  • submit an application to settle in the UK. 

They will, however, be expected to meet a new minimum salary threshold of £29,000, which is equivalent to the current level (£26,200) adjusted for inflation. The Home Office will, nevertheless, expect their pay to progress at the same rate as resident workers when they next submit applications to extend their stay, change employment or obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

The new general threshold of £38,700 per annum will also not apply to individuals obtaining visas for listed Health and Education occupations. Such individuals must, instead, satisfy a general threshold of £23,200 per annum as well as the relevant ‘going rate’ threshold for the particular occupation code.

6 April 2024: Removal of Sponsor Licence Renewals

The Home Office has announced that the requirement to renew Sponsor Licences will cease to exist from 6 April 2024. The current system requires sponsors to renew their Sponsor Licence every four years by submitting a renewal application and paying the relevant application fee.

From 6 April 2024, Sponsor Licence holders will no longer need to submit a renewal application or pay a renewal fee. The Home Office has instead automatically extended all Sponsor Licences valid on or beyond 6 April 2024 by 10 years. Sponsors will not be required to take any further actions as extensions will be triggered automatically.

11 April 2024: Increase of the Minimum Income Requirement under the Family route

From 11 April 2024, individuals applying as partners under the Family route (Appendix FM) will be expected to satisfy a new Minimum Income Requirement of £29,000. This is a 55.9% increase from the current level set at £18,600. Accordingly, for applicants relying solely on cash savings to meet the financial requirement, the threshold will also increase from £62,500 to £88,500. 

Individuals who already hold leave or submit their applications under the partner route prior to the Minimum Income Requirement increase on 11 April 2024 and who may submit future applications to extend their leave or obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain will continue to be assessed against the £18,600 Minimum Income Requirement and will not be expected to meet the increased threshold of £29,000.