UK New immigration rule

Confirmation of the new salary thresholds for sponsored workers was set out by the Home Office in a statement of changes to UK immigration rules published. Other notable changes announced in the policy paper, which also take effect on 12 April, include new rules that will make it easier for employers to sponsor workers under non-regular working patterns, and those that should reduce the need for formal sponsored visas to be obtained for seafarers. Further changes will enable more employers to bring young people from New Zealand, Australia and Canada into work in the UK, and the government has also confirmed that Qataris will be the first to benefit from the UK’s new electronic visa waiver scheme. Immigration law experts says the changes in respect of salaries required for sponsored workers apply across a variety of immigration schemes – including the ‘skilled worker’ scheme, several ‘global business mobility’ schemes, and the less popular ‘scale-up’ scheme. The general salary threshold for ‘skilled workers will increase from £25,600 to £26,200 – up to £20,960 for new entrants – and the hourly rate rises to £10.75 per hour. Going-rate salaries for individual roles will also be changing – some up, some down. There is a similar story in respect of the ‘global business mobility’ scheme: the ‘senior’ and ‘specialist’ worker thresholds will increase to £45,800 and £24,220 respectively. The threshold under the scale-up scheme will also rise to £34,600.” they also see a change in the calculation of example annual salaries, basing these on a 37.5-hour week rather than the less likely 39 hours. None of these changes is retrospective, so something to focus on moving forward. New rules announced will help employers sponsoring workers on irregular work patterns. “Post-Brexit, the UK has a wider breadth of roles suitable for sponsorship, and with it has come a mix of workers who do not work a standard ‘9-to-5’ day. This has proved problematic due to the strict prohibition on salary calculations for work exceeding 48 hours per week. New rules from 12 April will allow greater flexibility for this, allowing work rotation patterns to be aggregated to reach a more representative salary figure. While this has been permissible under guidance in the past, it is welcome to see clarity within the rules. Extensions to the ‘youth mobility’ temporary visa scheme, also outlined in the new rules, reflect the outcome of recent international trade agreements the UK has reached with other countries in the Commonwealth. Further new rules that will take effect on 12 April offer clarity on the application of immigration controls to seafarers and extend the permissions they benefit from. The new rules clarify that workers within the UK’s territorial waters are subject to immigration control; something that has been a source of some confusion post-Brexit,” Pledger said. “In addition, seafarers will now have specific permitted paid activities under visitor rules, allowing for delivery or collection of goods or passengers from a port outside the UK, and limited permissions to visit UK ports. This is useful, and hopefully will restrict the regularity with which seafarers will need a formal sponsored visa. The UK continues its move towards EVW for all nationals without a visit visa with the introduction of the new scheme from 25 October, this will initially only apply to Qatari nationals, with the scheme then extending to those from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia from 2 February 2024. We expect news on how the EVW will spread to other travellers in due course.” Further immigration rule changes could follow aimed at addressing the skills shortage in the construction sector, according to a report by the Financial Times. “The roles referenced in the article, for example bricklayers and plasterers, are already suitable for sponsorship, so the only benefit of addition to the SOL will be a slight reduction in visa application costs, though not sponsorship fees. It would nonetheless be interesting to see formal recognition of recruitment difficulties in another sector, and how the Home Office react.

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