The UK Home Office has implemented the final measure in its comprehensive package aimed at reducing legal migration, tightening the requirements for family visas.

It means approximately 300,000 people arriving in the UK last year would no longer be able to. 

Effective immediately, the minimum income threshold for sponsoring someone on a family visa has been increased from £18,600 to £29,000, marking a significant rise of over 55%.

Further increases are planned, with the threshold set to reach £38,700 by early 2025, aligning with the salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa.

These changes come as part of the government’s commitment to transform the immigration system, address unsustainable levels of migration, and ensure that migrants do not impose a financial burden on taxpayers. The measures build on previous reforms to the immigration system, including restrictions on student visas and care worker visas, and an increase in the minimum salary requirement for Skilled Worker visas.

Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasised the need for determined action to address mass migration and protect British workers and wages. The staged approach to increasing the income requirement provides predictability for families while ensuring that those coming to the UK are financially self-sufficient and able to integrate into society. The government aims to establish an immigration system that prioritises the best talent while reducing reliance on mass migration.

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.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street CC BY 2.0 DEED

These measures are part of the government’s broader efforts to reduce migration levels and tackle illegal crossings, with small boat crossings decreasing by around a third last year. Enforcement actions are being stepped up in collaboration with international partners to combat criminal gangs involved in illegal migration.

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

Source: Home Office and The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP

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