The Government’s new five-point package of measures for the immigration system

On 4 December the Government announced new changes to the immigration system that are due to come into effect next spring.

The key takeaways for the social care sector are:

The minimum salary to increase for the skilled worker visa: To be eligible for a skilled worker visa the applicant must have a job offer that meets a minimum salary requirement. Currently it is whichever is highest out of £26,200 per year or the “going rate” for the role. From next spring, this will rise to £38,700 per year.

The Health and Care visa holders will crucially remain exempt from this increase.

Care workers from Spring 2024 will be unable to bring dependents with them if they come to work in the UK: In addition individuals on other visas wishing to sponsor dependents to join them in the UK, the minimum income threshold is increasing from £18,600 to £38,700

Care homes will have to be regulated by the CQC if they want to be able to sponsor skilled workers: This measure is designed to reduce abuse of the sponsorship system and will prevent fake “care home businesses” offering sponsorship to migrants on false pretences.

In addition, migrant workers undertaking activities that are regulated by the CQC will be able to be sponsored to these activities by care providers in England.

Healthcare surcharge to rise: The annual fee will rise from £624 to £1,035.

Health and care visa holders will remain exempt

Immigration salary list to replace shortage occupation list: A new immigration salary list will replace the shortage occupation list. The new list will not feature the 20% going rate salary discount for shortage occupations but will retain a general threshold discount.

The Migration Advisory Committee has been asked by the Government review the roles on the shortage occupation list with a view to reducing it. While care workers have not been included in the new higher, skilled worker salary threshold, this has the potential to change after the Migration Advisory Committee review.

The Government has confirmed since the announcement of this five-point plan that the new rules are “not retrospective” and will apply for new visas and future renewals and extensions. Therefore these new rules concern those with limited leave to remain in the UK, who will need to renew their visa and who do not meet the new requirements.

If you have any questions regarding this then please do get in touch.