UK Home Office Announces Plans to Cut Migration

On Monday, December 4, 2023, the UK Home Secretary announced a plan that would result in the country’s largest reduction in net migration. The plan focuses on dependents accompanying a primary visa holder and increasing the minimum salaries for overseas workers or sponsored family members.

According to the press release, the cuts would result in approximately 300,000 people who were permitted to come to the UK last year not being allowed in the future.

Key Changes

Increases to Wage Minimums: 

The usual Skilled Worker general salary threshold will increase in Spring 2024 from £26,200 to £38,700.  The exact start date is unknown. To sponsor a Skilled Worker visa, employers must pay the higher of the general salary threshold; the going rate for the role; and £10.75 per hour.

  • Impact: Although employers in sectors where pay is generally higher will not generally feel the effects of these changes, those who operate graduate schemes will need to review their salary level for their 2024 intake if this is likely to include graduates of UK universities.
  • The full details of these changes are not known at this stage, including whether:
    • Whether the lower Skilled Worker salary threshold for “new entrants” will remain at whichever is higher of £20,960; 70% of the going rate; or £10.75 per hour. New entrants are currently able to be sponsored for up to 4 years on the lower salary threshold.
    • Whether the lower general threshold will will increase by the same rate.
    • Whether the Senior or Specialist Worker (ICT) general threshold will remain at £45,800.


Shortage Occupations: Some employers sponsor roles on the shortage occupation list. For those roles, the UKVI application fee is slightly lower and the salary threshold is slightly reduced because it needs to be the higher of £20,960; 80% of the going rate for the role; or £10.75 per hour.

  • From the Spring 2024, the government will end the 20% “going rate salary discount” for shortage occupations.
  • The government will replace the current Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List, which will retain a general threshold discount.

  • The Migration Advisory Committee will review the new list against the increased salary thresholds to reduce the number of occupations on the list.


Salary threshold for family visas to increase: The minimum employed salary threshold for such family visa applications has been £18,600.  The government has announced that threshold will increase to £38,700.

The Health and Care Visa:

  • Overseas care workers will no longer be allowed to bring their dependents to the UK.

  • Care providers in England will only be able to sponsor migrant workers if they are undertaking activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

  • Those on the Health and Care visa route will be exempted from the increase to the salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas.

Graduate Visa Route: The Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate Visa route to prevent abuse.

Social and Welfare Benefits: The government will increase the annual Immigration Health Surcharge paid by migrants from £624 to £1,035.

Erickson Insights & Analysis

The Home Secretary said these changes are expected to come into effect in the spring of 2024. Employers should review their programs with consideration for the potential added expenses due to these changes.

We expect the increased general salary threshold to only apply to applications submitted after the changes come into effect next Spring.  New hire and extension applications submitted after the changes are implemented will need to meet the new threshold.  Health and Care Worker roles and roles with national pay scales (such as teachers) are unaffected by this change.

Erickson Immigration Group will continue monitoring developments and sharing updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.