What do the new immigration rules mean for families and businesses?


On the 4th of December 2023, James Cleverly, the UK Home Secretary, announced that there would be future changes to the visa rules in the UK. This was described as being part of a five-point plan that was in place to reduce immigration.

There has been a lot of discussion on the topic that tackles how the financial increases that will be seen for families and businesses will impact UK organisations and citizens. The new immigration rules introduced mean that 300,000 of the people who came to the UK in 2023 would not have been able to enter the country with these new rules in place.

An overview of the changes

The UK new immigration rules 2024 will specifically impact:

  • British and settled people and their non-Brtish or non-settled partners and families.
  • British companies that need workers.
  • Families of students who are studying for master’s degrees.
  • The families of carers.

Five changes that are coming into effect include:

  1. Social care workers won’t be allowed to bring any dependents on their visas.
  2. The base minimum salary a sponsored worker can be paid for a Skilled Worker visa will increase from £26,200 to £38,700. However, this excludes the Health and Care Worker visa, including social care and educational workers on national pay scales.
  3. There are changes to the Shortage Occupation List to reduce the number of jobs where it is possible to sponsor overseas workers below the minimum salary.
  4. The minimum income that will be required to sponsor an individual for a spouse or partner visa will rise from £18,600 to £29,000 and then to £38,700. This will be increased in stages.
  5. The Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa, which is a 2-year unsponsored work permit for overseas graduates of UK universities.

When will they be effective?

UK immigration new rules for dependents of social care workers will come into effect in 2024, although no specific date has been given, while those for skilled worker salaries will become effective in April. For businesses regarding the Shortage Occupation List, that will also come into effect in April. Spouse visa new income requirements will first increase to £29,000 from £18,600 in spring 2024; they will then gradually increase to £34,500 in later 2024; however, a date is yet to be specified. Then, in 2025, it is expected to see the final total increase to £38,700.

The new immigration rules for students regarding the Graduate Visa have no solid date yet; however, the review will begin in January 2024 and may run until later in the year.

How will they affect families (British and migrant families)?

The rules on family settlement will impact the families of British citizens and migrants primarily in terms of the costs of spouse and partner visas. It currently only requires proof of an income of £18,600 to sponsor a partner. However, this will increase to £38,700 within the next 12 or so months.

There is yet to be a clear note of any financial increases for dependent children; however, there will likely be some uplift.

The new law stating that social care workers can no longer bring dependents will also impact the families of these workers, and the UK may see a decrease in migrant social care workers.

What is most clear about the outcome of the new spouse and partner visa requirements is that there will likely be more human rights-based applications and immigration appeals, as many will seek to rely on one of the exceptions to the partner visa requirements.

It is even possible that in the future, it could see more British citizens emigrating to other countries to be with their spouse or partner, rather than vice versa if they are just short of the financial requirements in the UK.

How will they affect businesses?

Skilled Worker visas currently have a minimum earnings threshold of £26,200 pa, or £10.75 per hour, or the job going rate. The Shortage Occupation List is also presently showing the jobs the UK needs to fill in particular.

With the new rules, the threshold of earnings for overseas workers would increase from £26,200 to £38,700. This is said to be happening to encourage businesses to seek out British talent first, invest in the workforce, and prevent an over-reliance on immigration.

This does, however, neglect the skill level introduced with the Skilled Worker visa route and may price out jobs at an RQF Level 3, which would be very unlikely to be paid £38,700 pa.

It will also impact businesses based on how this new law will impact migrant working hours. If the hours are still relevant as they currently are, this may lead to a heightened risk of an increase in contracted hours, which could risk employment law breaches.

Closure of the Shortage Occupation List will see a new list, ‘The Immigration Salary List’,’ introduced. It may simply be a rebranding; however, its intention seems to be to focus UK jobs on UK citizens. However, whether a sufficient amount of the domestic workforce can be healthy, without benefits, and start a career in one of these roles immediately is not clear.


Some of the changes regarding these new 2024 laws are still unknown, but it is certain that the changes would significantly impact UK businesses and families once they become effective. Many multinational families are already threatened with exile or division. Many may even leave Britain altogether.

Migrants applying for jobs should consider applying before the changes come into effect for the most success, and multinational families should seek out legal advice sooner rather than later to mitigate the effects and find out their options.


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