As the UK continues to refine its immigration policies, several significant changes are set to take place in 2024. These adjustments aim to respond to the evolving needs of the nation’s economy, its labour market, and the global migration landscape.
Here’s a summary of the key UK immigration rule changes in 2024 and what you can expect to happen on each date:
- 6 February 2024: From 6th February 2024, the UK will implement a 66% increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a mandatory fee for most visa applications, granting access to the National Health Service (NHS). This decision, announced on 13th October 2023 and approved by a House of Commons committee on 16th January 2024, will raise the annual IHS rate to £776 for students, their dependents, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants, and children under 18. For other visa applicants over 18, the fee will increase to £1,035. This fee is compulsory, regardless of the applicant’s actual use of NHS services or preference for private healthcare.
- 13 February 2024: Fines for illegal working will triple under a new Civil Penalty regime. For a first-time offence, the fine for employers hiring illegal workers will increase from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker. For repeat offenders, the maximum fine escalates to £60,000 per illegal worker, up from the current £20,000.
- 11 March 2024: From 11 March 2024, the UK will introduce significant changes to the Health and Care Worker Visa rules affecting dependents. Care workers and senior care workers will no longer be allowed to bring dependents to the UK, although those already in the UK can remain and adjust their status as needed as well as make fresh applications if their spouses already have leave as carers or senior carers. Additionally, care homes must be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to sponsor migrants under this visa category. These changes aim to regulate the sponsorship of care workers more strictly and ensure quality standards in care provision. The new rules were announced as part of a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules set to be presented to Parliament on 19 February 2024.
- 14 March 2024: A new Immigration Salary List will be introduced, replacing the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This change, part of a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, will end the 20% salary discount for roles previously identified as shortage occupations. Based on the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations, this list will guide the government on which occupations qualify temporarily. Employers may see fewer occupations eligible, affecting recruitment in certain sectors.
- 4 April 2024: The minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas will increase from £26,200 to £38,700 annually, aligning with 2023’s median wages for comparable roles. Existing Skilled Worker visa holders won’t face this new threshold for changes in employment, extensions, or settlement but are expected to match resident worker pay progression. Health and Care Visa recipients and education sector workers on national pay scales are exempt from this increase. This update will be formalised in a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules presented to Parliament on 14 March 2024.
- 11 April 2024: The minimum income requirement for partners applying under Appendix FM will increase to from £18,600 to £29,000. This change will be formalised in a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules will be laid before Parliament on 14 March 2024. However, individuals already on the five-year partner route before this date, either extending their stay or applying for settlement, will be assessed against the old requirement of £18,600, not the new £29,000 threshold. This exemption also applies to those who apply before the change takes effect.
How can Lexus Law help you with your visa requirements and immigration needs?
At Lexus Law, we specialise in streamlining UK immigration complexities. Our dedicated services cover a broad range of visa categories, ensuring thorough preparation for the application process. Our aim is to facilitate a smooth immigration process for our clients. Book your initial consultation with us here.
About the Author
With over 15 years of immigration law experience at top London firms, Jay Moghal established Lexus Law in 2020 to offer prompt, personalised services without the bureaucratic hurdles associated with larger firms.