December 13, 2023

Change to UK workforce business migration rules

In a plan to increase domestic workforce and reduce immigration, the government will introduce major changes to the UK visa system to be implemented from the Spring 2024, or earlier (date to be confirmed).


What has changed?

Specific changes are yet to be confirmed, however so far it is believed that:

    • Skilled Worker visa minimum salary requirement to be raised to £38,700 per year (based on 37.5 working hours per week). All applications for a Skilled Worker visa will be affected, however transitional arrangements are usually implemented for extension applications.
    • Health & Care visas will be exempt from the increase.
    • Scaling backthe Shortage of Occupation list: the 20% salary discount will be removed, and the list will be reviewed possibly reducing the number of occupations on the list.
    • Social care workers will not be able to bring dependents to the UK.
    • The minimum salary for family routes (Appendix FM) for applicants under the “salaried route” will be raised to a minimum of £38,700 (in line with the Skilled Worker route).
    • The Graduate Route will be reviewed, possibly allowing for future restrictions such as visa holder only working in roles skilled to graduate levels or above.

Who is affected?

The changes will have an important impact on the costs for employers. The raise of minimum salary together with the increase of the Immigration Health Surcharge starting from January 2024, will have an impact on the costs of visa applications, for employers and for individuals.

What to expect /impact?

The main impact will probably be on recruitment, especially on low er-paid positions where employers will need to substantially increase the salary offer if hiring outside of the domestic workforce. This could lead to labour shortages in some sectors; the impact will be less sensitive for employers hiring skilled workers which generally pay higher salaries.

What you need to do

For further information on changes to visa system and work routes, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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