Incremental salary threshold increases for UK family visas are planned.

After-study employment experience is the primary determinant in Indian students’ selection of universities in the United Kingdom.

In an effort to restrict immigration, modifications to British visa policy prohibit the majority of international students and care workers from bringing dependents.

The government has informed Parliament that the proposed increase in the minimal annual salary threshold for British citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a spouse or partner on a Family Visa will occur in “incremental stages.”

The government responded to a written parliamentary inquiry in the House of Lords by stating that the threshold will increase from its current value of GBP 18,600 to GBP 29,000 in early 2024, with two additional increases to follow.

The opposition has characterized the action as a “regressive step” in light of Home Secretary James Cleverly’s statement in the House of Commons that the threshold would increase to GBP 38,700, which is equivalent to the minimum wage prerequisite for the Skilled Worker visa route.

The most recent Home Office documents state that although the objective is still to align both thresholds, this will be accomplished gradually and in stages. “To provide predictability, the MIR (minimum income requirement) will be increased in incremental stages,” said Lord Andrew Sharpe, minister of the home office, in a statement to the House of Lords.

“In the final stage of implementation, we will increase the threshold to GBP 29,000 in the spring of 2024, which is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs eligible for skilled worker visas. From there, it will progress to the 40th percentile (currently GBP 34,500) and then to the 50th percentile (currently GBP 38,700 and the level at which the general skilled worker threshold is established),” he said.

He restated Cleverly’s position that the MIR, which had remained unchanged for more than ten years, no longer accurately represented the level of income necessary for a family to achieve self-sufficiency and cease dependence on public assistance. “At the expense of the taxpayer, family life must not be established here, and family migrants must have the ability to integrate in order to fully participate in British society.”

He added, “When implemented in the spring of 2024, this modification is anticipated to aid in the reduction of net migration.” Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary for Labour, lamented that individuals frantic to bypass the new regulations would race to tie the knot between now and spring 2024. Cooper accused the government of failing to adequately assess the repercussions of the changes. “It comes as no surprise that they are hastening to row back,” she stated.

The Home Office issued a factsheet highlighting the visa policy changes to curtail immigration that will go into effect in January, including a prohibition on the majority of international students and care workers from bringing dependents. Lord Sharpe’s statement coincided with the release of this fact sheet. The factsheet states, “In order to provide families with predictability, we will gradually increase the minimum income requirement for family visas in stages.” Furthermore, it affirms that the minimum earnings criterion for skilled worker visas has been raised from GBP 26,200 to GBP 38,700. However, this stipulation does not apply to physicians and nurses who are seeking entry under the Health and Care Visa. The anticipated implementation dates for the majority of changes are April 2024, with the exception of student dependents, which are January 2024. The Home Office expects the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to continue its work until late 2024, as confirmed in the factsheet, in order to conduct a formal commissioning of the Graduate Route, also known as the post-study work visa. The commissioning is scheduled to occur in January 2024. The Home Office stated, “The MAC will review the visa route to ensure that it operates in the best interests and priorities of the United Kingdom and maintains the integrity and quality of the United Kingdom’s higher education system.” Diaspora student organizations have expressed their concerns about the proposed reassessment of the pathway, which facilitates work experience following graduation and is the main factor influencing Indian students’ choice of universities in the United Kingdom. In the meantime, the Immigration Salary List (ISL) will replace the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which currently includes occupations that are considered to be labor-scarce, and the 20% “going rate” salary discount for these occupations will be eliminated. Furthermore, MAC will be requested to assess the list’s composition in accordance with the increased salary thresholds.

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