New Immigration Rules aim to reduce net migration


The Statement of Changes HC 590 to the Immigration Rules was published on 14 March 2024. 

The changes are significant and wide-ranging. We've attempted to succinctly summarise the key changes below.


Skilled Worker Visa – Changes from 4 April 2024

New Salary Threshold

  • The salary requirement for Skilled Workers will rise from £26,200 to £38,700, effective from 4 April 2024.
  • The deadline to assign Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) for the lower salary requirement is 7pm on 2 April 2024. Where you have assigned the CoS before this deadline, this will be valid for the normal 3-month validity period. This is both helpful and unhelpful:

    • This means that all CoS must be approved and assigned by no later than 7pm on Tuesday 2 April to benefit from the current salary thresholds.
    • However, Skilled Worker visa applications made using these CoS will be considered with reference to the lower salary thresholds and SOC 2010 occupation codes in place before 4 April 2024, even if the application is submitted on or after 4 April.


  • The Home Office has advised they will process as many CoS applications as possible before 7pm on 2 April. However, any outstanding applications after this date will be cancelled. Employers would then need to make a new application after 4 April 2024 when the new higher salary threshold will apply.
  • Someone who had a Skilled Worker visa based on the £26,200 threshold and applies to extend or settle / apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) before 4 April 2030, will need to meet a salary threshold of £29,000, rather than £38,700. 


Going Rates

  • The going rates are also increasing and will be set at the 50th percentile (median) of the salary range for the role, rather than the current 25th percentile. Again, this will not affect pre-existing Skilled Workers. 
  • Currently, the going rates are based on ONS data from 2010 and calculated at the 25th percentile. This means that some roles will have to meet a ‘going rate’ which is even higher than the new £38,700 threshold. 


Tradeable points

Tradeable points are available for the following circumstances:

  • Option B: Applicants who hold a PhD in a subject relevant to the job can benefit from a lower salary threshold of £34,830 per year, up from £23,580 per year, or 90% of the going rate for the Occupation Code, whichever is higher.
  • Option C: Applicants who hold a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job can benefit from a lower salary threshold of £30,960 per year, up from £20,960, or 80% of the going rate for the Occupation Code, whichever is higher.
  • Option D: Applicants with a job on the Immigration Salary List (which replaces the Shortage Occupation List – see below) can benefit from a lower salary threshold of £30,960 per year, up from £20,960 per year, or the going rate for the Occupation Code, whichever is higher.
  • Point to note: There is no going rate discount for roles under the Immigration Salary List, which means the applicable salary will be higher than the £30,960 minimum in most cases.
  • Option E: Applicants who are ‘new entrants’ to the labour market (such as recent graduates or those under the age of 26) can benefit from a lower salary threshold of £30,960 per year, up from £20,960 currently, or 70% of the going rate for the Occupation Code, whichever is higher.


Immigration Salary List replaces Shortage Occupation List

  • The Shortage Occupation List has been replaced by a new Immigration Salary List (ISL). This is intended to be a list of roles the Government considers sensible to set a discounted salary threshold.
  • The ISL is shorter than the Shortage Occupation List and does not contain roles in several key sectors which are currently experiencing labour shortages.
  • Roles on the ISL have a reduced salary threshold of £30,960 per year.


Supplementary work

  • Expansion of the definition of “supplementary work” to include all occupations which are eligible under “Appendix Skilled Workers”. This will allow Skilled Workers to undertake any role for up to 20 hours per week and outside of the contracted hours of their sponsored employment.
  • Currently, Skilled Workers can only carry out supplementary work of up to 20 hours a week in another job, or for their own business, if:

    • the additional work is in the same occupation code and at the same level as the job they're being sponsored for; or 
    • in a shortage occupation.


Global Business Mobility Route

Senior or Specialist Worker 

  • The salary threshold for the Senior or Specialist Worker route is also increasing to £48,500 per annum, up from £45,800, or the going rate for the Occupation Code, whichever is higher.
  • The ‘going rate’ will remain in the 25th percentile of earnings, but of the new SOC occupation code rates.
  • Transitional provisions apply until 3 April 2030 for individuals with a CoS assigned before 4 April 2024, but only for applicants who are applying to extend in the same role with the same sponsor.


Graduate Trainee route

  • The salary for the Graduate Trainee route will increase to £25,410 per annum, up from £24,220, or 70% of the going rate, whichever is higher.


Appendix FM – Family Routes

  • Increase in income requirements for the Family routes from 11 April 2024.
  • Income requirement will increase from £18,600 per year to £29,000 for spouse / partners of a British citizen / someone settled in the UK. This is part of a phased approach, with further income increases expected. It is anticipated that the level of £38,700 will be reached in 2025. 
  • Minimum cash savings requirement rising to £88,500, from current £62,500.
  • No longer a requirement to show additional income for each child joining the application.
  • Transitional provisions – individuals who submit applications before 11 April 2024 are not required to meet the new income thresholds for extension and settlement applications.
  • Exceptions to the new minimum income requirement will be available in certain circumstances.


Creative Worker routes

  • Still no minimum salary threshold for the Creative Worker route. However, a new requirement introduced for the applicant to make a unique contribution to creative life in the UK.


Changes to English language requirements

  • International GCSEs will now be accepted as evidence of English language ability.


10-year Long Residence route changes

  • You may be able to apply for ILR if you’ve been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years (known as ‘long residence’).
  • Under the new rules, applicants will need to have leave in their current immigration category for at least one year before applying for ILR, and time spent in the UK as a visitor or a short-term student will no longer count towards the 10 years' continuous residence.
  • The UK absence limit (currently allowing up to 18 months of absence outside the UK for the entire 10-year period, with no more than six continuous months’ absence at any one time) will change to the general “no more than 180 days in any 12-month period”, throughout the entire previous 10 years.


Going forward

We appreciate there's a lot to take in here. This is without question the biggest overhaul of UK immigration policy post the Brexit changes.

Careful consideration and planning are required for companies and private individuals alike. Although some of these changes will not come as a surprise, they will still not be warmly welcomed by many UK businesses and private clients. 

We can't change salary thresholds or any other immigration rule for that matter. However, we can ensure you understand the relevant requirements and are given sound advice and first-class service. 

Please contact to see how Howard Kennedy's Immigration team can assist you.

featured image