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Government attack on families as minimum income requirement to rise to £38,700

The Home Secretary made a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon about the government’s plans to reduce net migration, mainly by separating families. It’s yet another five point plan and is due to come into force in Spring 2024:

  1. People on health and care visas will no longer be able to bring family dependants and care firms must be regulated by the Care Quality Commission in order to sponsor workers.
  2. The skilled worker salary threshold will be increased by a third to £38,700, the care sector will be exempt.
  3. Ending the 20% salary discount for roles on the Shortage Occupation List and reforming the list. The Migration Advisory Committee have been asked to review the occupations on the list in light of the new higher skilled worker salary threshold. A new immigration salary list (Appendix Immigration Salary List?) with a reduced number of occupations will be published in coordination with the MAC.
  4. The minimum income requirement for family visas for British citizens and those settled here will also be raised to £38,700.
  5. The Home Secretary has asked the MAC to review the graduate route to “prevent abuse and to protect the integrity and quality” of the higher education sector.

The government expects these changes to result in a 300,000 drop in net migration. Of course if that does turn out to be true, it is entirely possible that this fall will take place under a Labour government, as it will take some time for these changes to take effect and to then be reported. In the meantime, this is a very dark day for many families who will be unable to meet the more than doubled new minimum income requirement and health and care workers who will be expected to come to the UK without the ability to bring their family members. Presumably there will be transitional provisions for those already in the routes, however we await written details of the changes.

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Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.