Latest changes to the Immigration Rules - implications for businesses

Published: March 14th, 2023

7 min read

A number of changes to the Immigration Rules have been announced. The majority of these come into force on 12 April 2023. The key changes include the ending of the Start-up route to be replaced with a new route called Innovator Founder and for those sponsoring workers under the Skilled Worker or Global mobility routes there are changes to salary considerations.

New Innovator Founder route

The Start-up route will close to new applicants on 13 April 2023. Initial applications will only be accepted where they are supported by endorsements issued before 13 April 2023 and the application is made by 12 July 2023. The route will close to all new applicants on 13 July 2023.

In a re-branding exercise, the Innovator and Start-up routes are now combined into one new route. The new route removes the £50,000 minimum funds requirement currently applied to those coming to the UK to establish an innovative business. Individuals will also be able to engage in employment outside of the running of their business, unlike Innovator visa holders provided that the secondary employment is in skilled work of at least RQF - Level 3.

Settlement can be available when individuals have spent three years continuously in the UK under this route.

Salary considerations for worker routes:

The main change that will affect businesses is that the minimum salary requirements have been updated and increased in line with current UK salary data.

From 12 April 2023, when recruiting Skilled Workers, minimum salary thresholds have increased as follows:

  • £25,600 to £26,200 (in relation to the general?salary?threshold)
  • £23,040 to £23,580 (in relation to the salary threshold where the applicant has a PhD in a subject relevant to the job)
  • £20,480 to £20,960 (in relation to the lower?salary?threshold)
  • £10.10 to £10.75 (in relation to the minimum hourly rate)

For Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Workers (previously the ICT route) the minimum salary will increase from £42,400 to £45,800.

For Global Business Graduate Trainee, the minimum salary will increase from £23,100 to £24,220.

It has also been confirmed that annual salaries should be calculated on a 37.5 hour week as opposed to the traditional 39 hours per week.

The updated Rules also confirm how salaries will be considered on the Certificate of Sponsorship for those working shift patterns or irregular hours each week.

None of the changes announced will be retrospective, so will not affect current migrant workers employed before 12 April 2023, however employers need to consider the new thresholds when making job offers to foreign nationals and applying for the Certificate of Sponsorship.

Other changes:

  • Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETA) - is a new requirement for people who do not need a visa to come to the UK. It gives you permission to travel to the UK, and it is electronically linked to your passport. A number of new countries now require an ETA from 22 February 2024.
  • Nationals and permanent residents from Australia applying for the Global Business Mobility - Expansion Worker route will not need to demonstrate that they have worked for their overseas employer for the 12 months prior their application. Changes have been made to reflect trade agreements.
  • New Zealand nationals are now able to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme up to the age of 35, rather than 30. The maximum length of stay has also been increased from two to three years.
  • There have been a number of clarifications given under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Global Talent - various changes to the endorsement criteria and evidential requirements come into effect on 12 April 2023.

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