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Statement of changes HC 590: salary thresholds increased, shortage occupation list gone


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As previously advised, today a statement of changes and explanatory memorandum to the immigration rules was published to bring in the income threshold increases for both skilled worker and Appendix FM partner routes. The immigration minister made a statement summarising the changes relating to the skilled worker, Appendix FM partner, EU settlement scheme, the new immigration salary list and administrative review for EU settlement scheme applications.

A deeper dive into the changes affecting worker routes will follow, including the extent to which the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations have been implemented, but some of the main changes are set out below.

Skilled worker salary threshold

References to the Shortage Occupation List are being replaced with Appendix Immigration Salary List which will be introduced into the rules on 4 April 2024. Applications that have been made using a certificate of sponsorship issued by the sponsor to an applicant before 4 April 2024 will be decided under the rules in force on 3 April 2024.

Employers must from 4 April 2024 pay those entering the skilled worker route a general salary threshold of £38,700 or the going rate for the role (also being raised, from the 25th percentile to the median), whichever is higher.

Increase to minimum income requirement for partners

Applications made in the five year route to settlement as a partner under Appendix FM of the rules will need to meet a minimum income requirement of £29,000 for applications made on or after 11 April 2024. There will be no additional income requirement for children.

If you haven’t already done so, this is a good moment to book a place on our webinar taking place on 24 April 2024 which looks at how successful applications can still be made where it is not possible to meet the minimum income threshold. The excellent Barry O’Leary is presenting and there is a 20% discount available for bookings made by the end of tomorrow.

Appendix EUSS

On 4 April 2024 Appendix Administrative Review (EU) will be amended to remove the ability to make an out of time application for administrative review of an eligible EUSS decision made before 5 October 2023. The explanatory memorandum says that people will have had more than five months to apply out-of-time for administrative review and the First-tier Tribunal will still have discretion to admit late appeals, where it is an appealable decision.

Permission to work for people seeking asylum

As expected, despite the Migration Advisory Committee explicitly recommending that this was not done, changes have been made to paragraphs 360A and 360D of the immigration rules on permission to work for people waiting for asylum decisions. This changes references to the shortage occupation list to the new Appendix Immigration Salary List, meaning they will be able to work in far fewer roles than was previously the case.

Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse

Appendix Victim of Domestic Abuse is being amended to include all partners with pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme.

Exceptional assurance (Covid-19 concession)

Exceptional assurance has made it into the immigration rules (I think for the first time). On 4 April 2024 paragraph 39E on exceptions for overstaying is being amended to include a period of overstaying between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2023 where the person has been given a written notice by the Home Office saying they would not be considered an overstayer during this period.

Change to definition of a parent

A more restrictive definition of parent is being introduced than is currently in the rules. The new definition at INTRO7 of the statement of changes includes biological parent, legal parent and adoptive parent. Step-parents have been removed, the explanatory memorandum says this is because being a step-parent “does not automatically mean the person has parental responsibility for a child”.

The explanatory memorandum says that there are other immigration routes that will allow a child to enter or stay in the UK where the step-parent has parental responsibility. This comes into force on on 6 June 2024 with transitional provisions for applications made before then.

Hong Kong BN(O) route

The concession allowing people with an asylum claim who are on immigration bail to apply to the scheme will be put into the rules on 4 April 2024. Other changes coming in include allowing grants of extensions of leave to be made with recourse to public funds where the person has previously been permitted this and continues to be eligible. Up to 28 days of additional leave can be added to a person’s grant of further leave to assist them in reaching the five year period after which they are eligible for settlement. Adult dependent relatives will be able to apply after the main applicant is in the UK, where their circumstances have changed.

Appendix Long Residence

A new Appendix Long Residence is being introduced, replacing the existing rules. In order to qualify for settlement, people must have held leave in their route for one year or have been exempt from immigration control within the 12 months immediately before their application.

Other changes

Also included in this statement of changes is the introduction of a new Appendix Adoption, the application of Appendix English language to additional routes, an update to Appendix Visitor: Permit Free Festival List, changes to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation, Appendix Armed Forces, and other minor changes.

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Sonia Lenegan

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.