Home Secretary Tightens UK Family Visa Rules to reduce unfair migration levels


Home Secretary Tightens UK Family Visa Rules to reduce unfair migration levels

The Home Secretary, James Cleverly, has fulfilled his commitment to overhaul the country’s immigration system.

His efforts aim to reduce unsustainable and inequitable migration levels while ensuring that newcomers do not burden taxpayers. As part of a comprehensive package to curtail legal migration, the minimum income required for sponsoring family members coming to the UK on a family visa has been raised from £18,600 to £29,000, effective today (April 11). This represents a substantial increase of over 55%. By early 2025, the threshold will rise further to £38,700, aligning with the new salary requirement for a Skilled Worker visa.

The full set of measures, which have all been implemented, include:

  • ending the ability of nearly all students to bring dependants to the UK
  • restricting care workers from bringing family members
  • requiring care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission if they are sponsoring migrant care workers
  • commissioning the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out a rapid review of the Graduate route for international students to prevent abuse, protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education and ensure it works in the best interests of the UK
  • increasing the minimum salary required for those arriving on the Skilled Worker visa, from £26,200 to £38,700
  • replacing the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List, with employers no longer able to pay migrants less than UK workers in shortage occupations

These changes come swiftly after the Home Secretary announced a series of reforms to the immigration system, including measures to tighten the student visa route in May 2023. Approximately 300,000 individuals who arrived in the UK last year would no longer meet the revised income criteria.

The gradual approach to increasing the income requirement provides families with predictability, allowing them to plan accordingly. Simultaneously, it ensures that those coming to the UK to reunite with their loved ones receive financial support. The government emphasizes that family life should not be established at the expense of taxpayers. Migrants joining their families must actively integrate into British society and contribute fully to national life.

Home Secretary, James Cleverly, said: 

We have reached a tipping point with mass migration. There is no simple solution or easy decision which cuts numbers to levels acceptable to the British people. 

Whether it was words unsupported by action, unfounded optimism or just plain wishful thinking that migration would fall on its own, indifference of any kind is never going to work – only determined action, backed by strong resolve, will deliver needed change. 

I promised action and we have delivered at remarkable speed. We’ve acted to cut unsustainable numbers, to protect British workers and their wages, to ensure those bringing family to the UK do not burden taxpayers, and to build an immigration system fit for the future – and one the public can rightly have confidence in.

Previously unchanged for over a decade, the income requirement now serves to promote self-sufficiency among families and prevent reliance on public funds. Sponsoring family members (or applicants with permission to work) must demonstrate an income of at least £29,000 earned within the UK. This requirement can be met through various means, including exclusive savings or a combination of lower income and savings.

The government has been clear that current levels of immigration are too high – putting pressure on public services, housing, and undercutting British workers – which is why decisive action was taken in December. 

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