<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/49857.png" style="display:none;">

UK Immigration Changes in 2024: What You Need to Know

6 March 2024

The British government has introduced some significant changes to its immigration policies that will affect visa applicants this year. From requirements for skilled worker visas to rules around studying in the UK, there are some key updates that anyone hoping to live, work or study in the country needs to be aware of. Here's a quick overview:

Download our FREE eGuide Enabling Visibility & Control in Your Temporary Labour  Supply Chain

Skills-Based Immigration Takes Priority

The UK is shifting towards a more skills and points-based immigration system in 2024. The number of visas issued for low-skilled workers will be reduced substantially. Instead, the emphasis will be on attracting highly skilled professionals. The Skilled Worker Visa will require applicants to have a job offer from an approved UK employer at an appropriate skill and salary level. Minimum salary thresholds have also increased. Applicants will need to meet a minimum points threshold based on factors like qualifications, prospective earnings, English language ability, and shortage occupation.

Student Visas Get Stricter

Students hoping to study in the UK will face stricter rules and requirements in 2024. Financial evidence of at least £1,334 per month of studies (for living costs) for the first 9 months will be mandatory for all study visa applicants. After this, you'll need to evidence at least £1,023 per month. The government is also tightening post-study work options. The Graduate Immigration Route will only allow students to stay in the UK to work or look for work for up to 2 years after graduation. Academic institutions face higher scrutiny as well.

Crackdown on Document Fraud

The UK is enhancing its system to identify fraudulent documents submitted as part of visa applications. Advanced technologies like biometrics and secure databases are being utilised to catch forged or altered documents. This may lead to increased scrutiny and delays at the application stage. Penalties for providing fraudulent documentation have been increased as well. Applicants are advised to only submit genuine documents obtained through proper channels.

The Good News

While the rules are stricter, the annual cap on skilled work visas has been increased from 20,700 to 57,000 in recognition of labour shortages. Processing timelines for various visa types (e.g. work, study, visitor, etc.) are expected to improve given new operational resources. And fees for most visa types remain unchanged from 2023 levels.

The Bottom Line

In 2024, there’ll be significant changes to the UK’s immigration policies. These reforms are driven by a dual focus on addressing skills shortages in key sectors and maintaining stringent controls on immigration numbers. One notable adjustment was the introduction of a points-based system that prioritises skills, qualifications, and work experience, allowing highly skilled individuals to enter the country more easily. Additionally, there was a renewed emphasis on attracting international students, with streamlined visa processes and expanded post-graduation work opportunities designed to bolster the UK's reputation as a global education hub. However, amidst these efforts to attract talent, the government also tightened regulations on low-skilled workers, imposing stricter criteria for entry and reducing the availability of temporary work visas in certain industries. These changes reflect a nuanced approach aimed at balancing economic imperatives with concerns over immigration levels, signalling a new chapter in the UK's migration policy landscape.



Posts By Topic

see all button-arrow

Subscribe to our blog