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Unpacking the Relevant Immigration Changes Proposed by New Secretary of State James Cleverly.

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

The recent announcement by the new Secretary of State for the Home Department James Cleverly about the immigration changes he presented caused a lot of surprise and doubts.

Well, we will clarify and summarise it below:

For now, it is important to highlight that some rules have not changed yet, immediately. 

Having said that, Home Secretary James Cleverly, the new head of the Home Office, mentioned in his speech in parliament two days ago that he intends to provide the biggest reduction that has ever been made in the United Kingdom in net migration, so not only illegal immigration, but also legal, and to do this he mentioned some measures he intends to implement.

One of the reasons for his speech was the number of net migration (number of people who came here compared to the number of people who left the UK) until June 2023, which already totalled 672 thousand, a lower number compared to last year, which was 745 thousand, but which is still very high according to him.

But what are the most significant changes?

Starting in order:

  • People on a student visa here can only switch to the work visa route (or as a dependent on the work visa route) from within the UK if they have completed their course.

These previously mentioned measures are already in force.

  • From January 2024, people on a student visa will not be able to bring family members as dependents unless they are on a postgraduate course designated as a research programme. 

Now measures that are yet to be approved and only then they will become law:

  • Also from January 2024, precisely from 16 January 2024, the Immigration Health Surcharge (fee paid to the NHS (British Health System) as part of the requirements of some visa routes, such as the Skilled Worker Visa or Spouse/Partner/Fiance Visa) is about to rise from £624 per year to £1035 per year.

Measures intended to be implemented from spring 2024 (from the end of March 2024)

  • He announced that he intends to remove the possibility of bringing dependents for people on the Health and Care Worker Visas. 

  • He intends to increase the minimum annual qualifying salary for the Skilled Worker Visa route from £26,200 (current figures) to £38,700.

  • He also intends to remove the 20% discount from the minimum annual qualifying salary for the Skilled Worker Visa for professions in the shortage occupation list and reduce the professions/occupations on the list.

  • He intends to increase the minimum annual income threshold on family visa routes such as the Spouse/Partner/Finance/Child visa routes from £18,600 annually (figures since 2012) to £38,700 (the same figures as he intends to increase for the Skilled Work Visa Route).

  • Finally, they will review the Graduate Visa route, which is a route that people on a student visa here who have graduated can apply to live and work here for another two years, but it has not yet been mentioned precisely what the changes will be on this specific route.

For now, we have to wait for future updates and more concrete information about the progress of the actual implementation of these proposals.

When further concrete information comes out, we will be informing about it. 

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