UK’s New Skilled Worker Salary Thresholds & Spouse Visa Impact

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The UK is launching a major immigration reform in Spring 2024 to manage rising migration levels. Led by Home Secretary James Cleverly, this reform is designed to streamline the process and criteria for entering the country, focusing on skilled labour and family unification. It shows the government’s effort to balance the need for foreign professionals with the challenges of a growing population.

Let’s have a more detailed look at the new reform and how it will affect skilled workers.

Overview of the new skilled worker visa

One of the hallmark changes in this plan is the significant increase in the skilled worker visa salary threshold. The UK government has decided to raise the minimum salary requirement from the existing £26,200 to a significant £38,700.

This move aims to attract better-skilled workers to the UK, ensuring they match the job market’s needs and boost the economy.

However, the health and care sector remains an exception to this rule, potentially due to the ongoing need for workers in these critical areas.

How will it affect skilled worker immigration?

Raising the salary threshold is set to significantly change who and how many skilled workers come to the UK. The higher salary requirement is expected to bring in more experienced and qualified professionals.

This change will particularly affect areas like technology, engineering and finance that require high-level skills. The higher threshold might discourage less experienced or younger professionals who can’t meet these salary levels. This could result in a shortage of talent in some sectors and reduce the variety of skills in the UK’s job market.

What are the economic implications?

The decision to raise the skilled worker salary threshold is not just about controlling the number and type of immigrants – it also has economic effects.

A higher skilled worker visa salary requirement may lead to higher average wages, which could affect pay in other industries. This might improve living standards but also raise labour costs for businesses.

This policy could help solve the problem of foreign workers getting paid less than UK workers, leading to fairer wages across different jobs. By making sure overseas professionals are paid similarly to local employees, it could create a more balanced and fair job market.

Benefits of the new policy

The change in policy is focused on benefitting the UK by:

  • Drawing in top talent: The goal of the policy is to bring in highly skilled professionals who can make a substantial contribution to the UK’s economy.
  • Equality of pay: The higher salary rules aim to ensure foreign workers get paid similarly to UK workers.
  • Economic growth: Professionals with higher earnings are expected to pay more in taxes and spend more, which can boost economic growth.

Potential challenges

This new policy has its critics and there have been concerns about:

  • Talent shortage in certain sectors: The high salary requirement might lead to a talent shortage, especially in sectors that traditionally rely on younger or less experienced foreign workers.
  • Increased business costs: Increased wages might lead to higher running costs for businesses, especially for small and medium-sized companies.
  • Diversity of skills: There might be a decrease in the diversity of skills available in the UK job market, as the policy could favour certain professions over others.

What is the impact on the spouse visa income?

The updated skilled worker policy could potentially raise the spouse visa income threshold, making it more challenging for families to reunite in the UK. This increase will put a financial strain on families, especially those depending on skilled worker visas.

Couples who earn below the threshold are likely to have to make life-changing decisions due to this change in the policy. This change could force skilled workers to reconsider moving to the UK if they plan to bring their spouses, impacting not just individual families but also the cultural diversity of the UK’s immigrant community.

These changes show the importance of considering both work and personal factors in immigration rules.

Get help with UK visa changes

Are you affected by the recent changes in the UK’s skilled worker and spouse visa policies? Get in touch with Osbourne Pinner Solicitors for expert legal advice and support.

Our professional team can help you understand these new regulations and assist in making the best decisions for your family’s future in the UK. Contact us on 0203 983 5080, by email [email protected] or use this contact form…

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