Major Changes to Minimum Skilled Worker Salary and Income Requirement for Spouse Visa

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
8 December 2023

On 4th December 2023 the Home Secretary set out a five point plan that will take effect in the spring of 2024 to reduce net migration. The statement to the House of Commons set out the plans to cut family, study and work-related immigration. The Prime Minister is of the opinion that the levels of immigration are too high and they need to come down to substantial levels. The Home Secretary said that a new five-point plan will be introduced and under the new plan:

The minimum salary for foreign skilled workers will be raised from £26,200 to £38,700 (though the health and care sector would be exempt).

The minimum income requirement for a spouse visa or family visa would be raised from £18,600 to £38,700.

Care workers will not be allowed to bring any dependants (adult or child) to the UK, and care firms will be required to be registered with the Care Quality Commission to sponsor visas.

The Shortage Occupation List will be reformed and the current 20% going rate salary discount for shortage occupation will be abolished.

The rules of students bringing family members to the UK will be tightened, plus the Migration Advisory Committee would be commissioned to carry out a full review of the Graduate Visa Route.

This increase was met with surprise and dismay. The increase means that British people will need to earn at least £38,700 if they want to bring their partner to the UK. It is not clear if it will apply to those renewing a family visa, but we are of the opinion that it probably will only apply to new entrants. The purpose of this new plan is to deliver the biggest reduction in net migration on record, hoping that over 300,000 of the estimated 1.2m people who moved to the UK in 2022 will now be unable to do so. Yvette Cooper the Labour Shadow Home Secretary said that this statement represents an admission of years of total failure by the Conservative Government.

The Home Secretary James Cleverly said to the Commons that migration to the UK is far too high and needs to come down. That when the UK voted to leave the European Union we also voted to take back control of the borders and now their point based immigration system will enable to control who comes to the UK. The government will prioritise the skills and talent that are needed to grow the economy and support the NHS and these measurements are possible because they are building on the domestic work force in supporting British workers.

As Human Rights lawyers we ask what the future has in store if the families will be forced to live apart. Thousands of families will be forced to find new employment, live apart or uproot their children many of whom are British citizens or move to another country.