Home Office announces timeline for immigration reforms
30 January 2024
The Home Office has issued a new statement outlining the launch dates for major reforms to the Skilled Worker and Partner routes. This, along with other recent announcements confirms a packed timeline of immigration reforms due to be made over the next year.
The Home Secretary’s latest statement, published on 30 January 2024, mainly focuses on reforms to the Skilled Worker and Partner routes. The majority of these will be rolled out during March and April 2024. Other reforms are due during 2024 and into early 2025. In particular, the changes to the salary thresholds for Skilled Workers will come into force on 4 April 2024.
Taken together, the recent and forthcoming changes are designed to significantly reduce net migration, increase revenues to the Home Office and advance its digital transformation agenda.
A timeline summary of upcoming immigration reforms is set out below. Dates announced in the Home Secretary’s latest statement are flagged as being new.
For more detailed information on individual reforms, see the links in the description column or refer to our recent article, What's happening in UK immigration law in 2024?
|1 January 2024
|Partner and child dependants of Students only allowed if the Student is starting a course on or after 1 January 2024 that is a PhD or other doctorate, or a postgraduate research programme
|31 January 2024
|Liberalising reforms to visitor route come into effect
|1 February 2024
|Electronic Travel Authorisation opens for citizens of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who are travelling to the UK on or after 22 February 2024
|6 February 2024
|13 February 2024
|Maximum civil penalty for illegal working rises to £60,000
|23 February 2024
|Migration Advisory Committee to report on rapid review of the Immigration Salary List, which will replace the Shortage Occupation List for the Skilled Worker route
|NEW: 19 February 2024
|Immigration Rules to be laid to bring into effect 11 March 2024 ban on Carers and Senior Carers being accompanied by partners and children as Skilled Worker dependants
|NEW: 11 March 2024
|Partners and children of Carers and Senior Carers cease to be eligible to apply as Skilled Worker dependants
|NEW: 11 March 2024
|Sponsor guidance to be amended to require care home sponsors to be registered with the Care Quality Commission to sponsor Carers or Senior Carers
|NEW: 14 March 2024
|Immigration Rules to be laid to bring into effect 4 April 2024 reforms to the Skilled Worker and Partner routes
|NEW: 4 April 2024
Skilled Worker route changes come into effect, including:
|6 April 2024
|Sponsors of workers with a licence expiry due on or after this date are not required to make an application to renew their licence – licences no longer have an expiry date. Sponsors have been advised of this directly on the Sponsor Management System.
|NEW: 11 April 2024
|Minimum income requirement for five-year Partner route applicants to be raised from £18,600 to £29,000, and marginal income requirement for child dependants to be removed
|TBC mid-to-late 2024
|Migration Advisory Committee to carry out full review of Immigration Salary list (amendments to this list to be made following the review)
|TBC mid-to-late 2024
|Minimum income requirement for five-year Partner route applicants to be raised from £29,000 to £34,500
|By the end of 2024
|Electronic Travel Authorisations implemented for all non-visa nationals
|31 December 2024
|Phase-out of physical immigration documents including Biometric Residence Permits, Biometric Residence Cards and other paper-based documents – holders will need to obtain a UKVI account to prove their status after this date
|Minimum income requirement for five-year Partner route applicants to be raised from £34,500 to £38,700
The Home Office also plans to make improvements to the sponsor licensing system during 2024, in line with the Home Office’s sponsorship roadmap. This programme of reform is running significantly behind schedule and no up-to-date rollout dates are currently available.
If you have queries about these developments, please contact a member of our Immigration Team.