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UK increases income threshold for family visa sponsorship by over 55%

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The United Kingdom (UK) has increased the income threshold to sponsor someone under a family visa from £18,600 to £29,000. This represents an increase of over 55%.

This is seen as the final step in the Prime Minister and Home Secretary’s strategy to curtail legal immigration and a fulfillment of his pledge to overhaul the UK’s immigration policy, reduce unmanageable and inequitable migration rates, and ensure newcomers do not financially strain taxpayers.

Nairametrics learns that by early 2025, this would have increased twice, reaching £38,700 – aligning with the new income benchmark for a Skilled Worker visa.

The Home Secretary has achieved his aim, by implementing his extensive reform plan for the immigration system just weeks after its announcement – following the introduction of stricter student visa regulations in May 2023. This means around 300,000 individuals who arrived in the UK last year would now be ineligible.

The comprehensive suite of enacted measures includes:

  • Eliminating almost all student dependants from entering the UK,
  • Barring care workers from bringing family members,
  • Mandating care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission when sponsoring migrant workers,
  • Tasking the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) with a swift evaluation of the Graduate route for international students to prevent misuse, uphold the quality of UK higher education, and ensure it serves the UK’s best interests,
  • Raising the minimal salary for Skilled Worker visa entrants from £26,200 to £38,700,
  • Replacing the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List, ensuring employers pay migrant workers at least as much as locals in shortage roles.

What the Home Secretary said

The Home Secretary, James Cleverly advocated the increase in income reqirement stating:

  • “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.
  • “I promised decisive measures, and we have swiftly delivered. We’ve taken steps to reduce excessive migration, safeguard British jobs and wages, ensure family sponsors in the UK are not a fiscal burden, and develop an immigration framework suitable for the future – one that the public can trust”.

The rationale for the increased income threshold

The government has emphasized that current immigration levels are excessively high – stressing public services, housing, and undermining local labor – hence the decisive actions taken last December.

The government’s vision for a high-skill, high-wage economy does not depend on mass migration, and the newly implemented measures aim to protect British workers, encourage domestic worker investment and recruitment, and favor only top-tier international talent.

The phased income requirement increase offers families predictability, allowing them to plan effectively while ensuring financial support for anyone joining family or loved ones in the UK. The government has consistently stated that establishing family life in the UK should not come at taxpayers’ expense, and family migrants must integrate fully into society and contribute meaningfully to British life.

The income requirement, unchanged for over a decade, now ensures that families are financially independent and not dependent on public assistance, while positively affecting the economy.

This extensive series of measures occurs as the government intensifies its efforts against both legal and illegal rising migration, reforming the immigration system.


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