Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

UK Immigration Outlook 2024: The United Kingdom is likely to witness more debates around its visa rules and immigration policy and more measures are to be proposed and introduced throughout 2024 – being an election year. 

“Last year, net migration reached a record total of 745,000 which many British people feel is too high,” Yash Dubal, director and a senior immigration associate of A Y &J Solicitors, said and further pointed out that the immigration issue is likely to be an ‘election pitch’. 

“Both the main political parties, Conservatives and Labour, are now promising measures to stop illegal immigration and to reduce the number of legal migrants who arrive in Britain.”

Few changes implemented in the last few years: 

  • On January 1, 2021, the UK introduced a new points-based immigration system after its exit from the EU. 
  • Tweaking the system further, on 13 July 2023, the government announced hike in most UK visa application fees by between 15 and 35% that came into effect in October 2023.
  • Apart from that, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is a fee paid by visa holders excluding Health and Care visa holders and their dependents, will rise by 66% from £624 to £1035 per person per year. 
  • For Skilled Worker visa minimum salary threshold, in order to meet the criteria to qualify for a general Skilled Worker visa most applicants must be paid a minimum of £26,200 a year (the threshold does not apply to health and care workers). The first minimum income increase will come into effect in spring 2024; and rise to around £34,500 at an unspecified time but likely later in 2024, and finally to around £38,700 in early 2025.
  • Changes in UK immigration law include barriers that prevent students from bringing their dependents to the UK, as well as making it harder for them toobtain a work visa. 
  • International students are no longer allowed to bring their partner or children on dependent visas unless they are in a PhD program or a postgraduate research programme.
  • The Graduate visa, which allows international students to work in any job in the UK for two years after graduating is under review. 

What are the changes that immigrants should expect?

Dubal pointed out, “It is expected that restrictions will be added, it may be scrapped altogether.” 

“It will also be harder for students to switch directly on to Skilled Worker visas because the baseline minimum salary to be sponsored is set to increase from £26,200 to £38,700. The average graduate salary in the UK is just over £33,000, well below the proposed threshold”

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Published: 02 Mar 2024, 02:19 PM IST

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