The Home Office has said the minimum salary for family members who accompany migrant workers in the UK will be increased in stages.
Last month home secretary James Cleverly announced that the government would increase the family minimum income requirement to £38,700, in line with the new minimum salary for skilled workers who hold a UK visa.
However, in an impact statement published yesterday (21 December), the Home Office said that the family minimum income requirement would initially be £29,000, and that the eventual increase to £38,700 would be implemented in stages.
It said: “In Spring 2024 we will raise the threshold to £29,000, that is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs at the skill level of RQF3, moving to the 40th percentile (currently £34,500) and finally the 50th percentile (currently £38,700 and the level at which the general skilled worker threshold is set).
Family visa salary
“There will no longer be a separate child element to the minimum income requirement, to ensure that British nationals are not treated less favourably than migrants who are required to meet the general skilled worker threshold as a flat rate, regardless of any children being sponsored.”
The Home Office said that raising the minimum income for family visas incrementally would “give predictability to families”.
Those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement.
The impact statement indicated that the government was uncertain about how increasing the family salary to £29,000 would impact immigration levels, but would possibly result in a reduction in the region of “low tens of thousands”.
It added that increasing the skilled worker minimum salary threshold and scrapping the exemption for roles on the shortage occupation list would result in around 15,000 fewer migrant workers arriving in the UK a year.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said ministers had failed to consult properly on the new threshold, adding: “it’s no surprise they are now rowing back in a rush”.