This is the first of a series of blogs which will cover all of the recent updates made to Immigration Law. Written by our director and experienced barrister, Ghulam Mustafa, these blogs cover the changes made and what impact they will have.
On 9th March the Government published a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules (the Statement), some of which are in line with its ambition to deliver a fully digital process for individuals using the immigration system.
The Home Office is gradually phasing out the use of physical documents such as Biometric Residence Permits and granting individuals with a digital immigration status. Most recent BRP cards which are issued by the Home Office have an expiry date of 31 December 2024. This does not necessarily mean that you visa will expire on 31 December 2024. You should check the decision letter to find out the expiry date of your leave to remain in the UK. Other changes relate to recently introduced routes and introduce new requirements.
New Innovator Route
The Innovator route was opened in 2019, aimed at new entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time. The business is required to be innovative, viable and scalable and it must be approved by an endorsing body.
Applicants are required to spend the majority of their working time on the business venture and be genuinely intending to undertake, and capable of undertaking, the work or business activity.
The new Innovator Founder route no longer requires applicants to have funds of £50,000 available to invest and now permits them to carry out secondary employment outside the running of their business.
Skilled Worker Minimum Salary Increases
Sponsor licence holders need to be aware of some upcoming tweaks to the Skilled Worker visa route announced on 9 March 2023. In line with an imminent increase to the National Living Wage, the Home Office has announced an increase to Skilled Worker visa salary thresholds from 12 April 2023.
The minimum gross annual salary threshold for most applications is increasing by £600 from £25,600 to £26,200, and for those on Global Business Mobility routes, the salary requirements are now £45,800 (for senior workers) and £24,220 (for specialist workers). For Scale-Up workers, the minimum salary requirement is now £34,600.
Going rates will now be based on a 37.5-hour working week rather than a 39-hour working week. This is an important consideration where employees are contracted for longer weekly working hours, as proposed salaries will need to be pro-rated to calculate eligibility for sponsorship.
These salary and going-rate changes will only apply to visa applications made using a Certificate of Sponsorship issued on or after 12 April 2023. For existing Certificate of Sponsorship holders, employers of existing sponsored workers need not worry, there is no immediate requirement to take action from an immigration perspective. It is only when it comes to a worker’s next visa extension or settlement stage that employers will need to ensure salaries align with the new mandatory minimums.
Here at Law Lane Solicitors, we have the experience and expertise to advise you on Immigration Law. If you would like to speak to one of our specialists, then please call us on 0207 870 4870 today.