A megaphone of the recent UK Government's announcement regarding immigration updates - 2024 Immigration Law updates.

Immigration Announcement - 2024 Additional Information

A 2024 immigration law update surrounding the UK Government's announcement of upcoming changes to the skilled worker visa and corporate sponsorship.

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A recent announcement made by the UK Government revealed changes to the Skilled Worker Visa and corporate sponsorship were due to be installed quicker than expected.

UK Home Office In The Media

Shortly after the news broke, the UK Government provided a little more detail and clarification to their announcement through a fact sheet. The document revealed plans to increase the earning threshold for overseas workers by nearly 50% from its current position of £26,200 to £38,700 from April 2024 (Home Office News Team, Dec 2023).


Requests Of The Migration Advisory Committee

If you believe that your business will be impacted by the government’s proposals you may want to respond either as part of your industry body and/or separately to any consultations that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) might open before reporting to the Home Office on its proposals. It should be noted that because of the small window that the MAC have to carry out their work, particularly as the new Rules are proposed to be implemented in Spring 2024, they may not even open a consultation. Accordingly, it might be equally prudent to write your representations to the local MP where your business sites are based setting out your concerns.

You should already be aware that the MAC have been asked to report on two matters:

  1. With the UKVI proposing to reform the shortage occupation list, the MAC has been asked to look at what a slimmed-down ‘salary list’ of occupations may look like. The proposal here being that the government will reduce the 20%  reduction to the going rate salary for shortage occupations but recognising that there will be occupations which will remain hard to recruit and require a salary threshold which is below the proposed earnings threshold of £38,700.

  2. The MAC is to look at the Graduate Route and to report if this visa route is fit for purpose, with the concern being that as opposed to attracting the brightest and best students into graduate roles many students are working in low skilled jobs. There clearly is a threat that the route may be scrapped altogether, or only be available for graduate roles or for those that have qualified in post-graduate qualifications. More information can be found here.


Concerns Which Should Be Addressed 

Concerns that you might want to address in your representations to the MAC, your industry body and/or your MP are as follows:

  • Will the New Entrant tradeable points remain in the current format? In the fact-sheet, the UK Government has confirmed that salary discounts for those at the start of their career will still exist. Currently, there is a 30% reduction to the going rate salary so long as with the reduction the salary does not fall below £20,960.

    A person is a new entrant if one of the following apply:

  • They are under the age of 26 at the date of their visa application.

  • They are switching from the student or graduate route.

  • They are working towards a recognised qualification in a UK-regulated profession.

  • They are working towards full registration or chartered status in the job they are being sponsored for.


Concluding Facts

  • In 2021 the government reduced the skills threshold for skilled worker visas from RQF Level 6 (jobs that require degree level experience) to RQF Level 3 (jobs that require A Level experience). This meant that some 400 jobs became eligible for sponsorship and sectors such as the meat industry, hospitality and social care benefited. The UKVI continued to add occupations to the list, most recently in August 2023 when for example bricklayers, roofers and plasterers were added. The concern now is that with the minimum salary threshold increasing from £26,200 to £38,700 and with the removal of the shortage occupation list with a slimmed-down salary list that more occupations will fall outside skilled worker sponsorship than were added when the skill level was reduced to RQF Level 3. As the government have stated in the fact-sheet, they only want skilled worker sponsorship to remain for the highest skilled jobs with businesses expected to look at British talent first and to invest in their workforce. Clearly it has passed the government’s attention how difficult it has been for UK companies to recruit from within the resident market across all sectors, particularly since Brexit and Covid. This is also similar across Europe and the U.S. meaning that there is a global war on talent and these proposed changes will make us uncompetitive. You can view the current jobs that are eligible for sponsorship with current going rate salaries to understand further what jobs might be removed from sponsorship here.

  • One concern for existing sponsors and skilled worker visa holders has been resolved in the fact-sheet and in Minister statements i.e. that the increase in salary thresholds will not be applied retrospectively to existing skilled worker visa holders either now or at the time of their extension.

  • A further update, it has been confirmed that MPs will debate the proposed increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) on 10 January meaning that the increase will come into effect on 31 January 2024 at the earliest.

  • Finally, be prepared for the civil penalty for employing illegal workers increasing from 22 January 2024. Ensure your policy on right-to-work checks is all in order.



How can Paragon Law help?

As always, if you have any additional queries, please do not hesitate to contact your Paragon Law relationship lead.

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