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News and updates from the world of staff immigration in 2024. Please let your colleagues know about this page if you think our updates would be useful to them.

If you would like to subscribe to receive an email when we update to this page, please let us know.

News and updates from 2023 are on our archive page.

Email from the Home Office to BRP holders

The Home Office has begun addressing the phasing out of Biometric Residence Permits (the plastic credit-card sized card). All new BRPs have, for a while now, had an end date of 31 December 2024, even if the person's permission expires after that. No new BRPs will be produced from January 2025, everyone's permission will be digital and the holder may need to create a Home Office account.

At the moment, the ability to create an account is by invitation only. You can download an example of the email which BRP holders will receive - you'll note it's not personalised, so people may think it's spam or phishing. If you're asked, please would you reassure them that it is not (or provide them with the above link if they want to see the example), and ask them to go ahead and create their account. The Home Office's plan is to make the system 'public' from early June, and we'll let you know once that happens.

Further updates - Skilled Worker and GAE

We're still working through the updates to both the Skilled Worker and GAE routes, and the sponsor guidance shows additional requirements for us when we assign a CoS. We've therefore had to update our Skilled Worker and GAE CoS forms, which can be downloaded from the Forms, templates and webinars page. We recommend you bookmark the page, rather than saving copies locally, so you don't miss out on any further changes.

Please note also that the cost of an in-country Skilled Worker visa application of more than 3 years will increase from £1,500 to £1,636 with effect from 10th April 2024.


Published: 5th April 2024

Skilled Worker visa updates

Good morning, welcome to the new world of Skilled Worker (4th April 2024)! The following updated information is available:

  • University salary webpages have been updated to provide the various possibilities with regard to minimum payable salaries. You'll now need to log in with your Raven username/password to see the detail.
  • We are still in the process of updating the Colleges salary page, which currently has up to date information for JRFs, lectors/lectrices and lecturers. More will be added soon.
  • When we send you a CoS, the only attachment will be the CoS form itself, everything else will be provided as links within the email.
  • Permitted absence reasons have been updated in the letter for Skilled Worker visa holders.
  • You can watch a recording of our recent SWV briefing and take a look at the slides. A Q&A document which answers the questions raised at the briefing will be available soon.


There is more to be done, and we'll let you know via this page as soon as that happens.

Please let us know if you have any queries. As you'll see from the Compliance Team email autoreply, we're currently short-staffed (Graeme, Karen and Jo are all ill or on annual leave) so please bear with Emma and Lisa, we're doing the best we can do get everything updated, deal with our 'business as usual' and respond to your emails.


Published: 4th April 2024

Skilled Worker visa - sponsorship

We are working hard to assign CoS received before 25th March under the existing SWV salary rules.

The Home Office has advised that the Sponsor Management System (SMS), where we assign CoS, will be unavailable on 2nd and 3rd April so they can apply the required updates. Therefore:

  • CoS forms received between 25th March and 1st April may be processed under current salary rules, but we cannot guarantee it.
  • CoS forms received after 1st April will be processed under the new rules.

Please note that:

  • we cannot process a form if information or supporting documents are missing; and
  • we cannot assign a CoS more than 3 months before the work start date/expiry of existing Skilled Worker visa (as appropriate).

We will be updating our webpages and guidance during week commencing 25th March. Please check whether the section relating to your job has been updated and, if not, contact us if you are unsure if a job can be sponsored under the new rules, providing the following information:

  • further particulars/job description; and
  • grade/point if not stated in FPs/JD; and
  • if you have a candidate in mind:
    • the maximum salary you are willing to pay
    • whether they already have a Skilled Worker visa and, if so, the date it was granted
    • whether they have a PhD which is relevant to their role and, if so, whether or not this is a STEM PhD
    • whether they would qualify as a New Entrant under the new rules.
Visitor visa briefing

A recording and slides are now available from the briefing held on 27 February on the visa and immigration rule requirements for non-UK visitors hosted at the University. The session was run in response to the government’s revised visitor visa rules, which took effect on 31 January 2024. 

UKVI eVisa account creation - beta testing

The Home Office is looking for individuals to be amongst the first group of people to participate and test a new eVisa account creation process. By participating on Day 1 of this private test, you will have the opportunity to use the eVisa process, provide feedback, and help shape the final product before its official launch.

This will be in a private test phase and as part of this, the Home Office is looking for BRP holders on the following application routes:

  • Skilled Worker 
  • Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) via the Long Residency (10 Year) route (main applicant and dependent)
  • General Student Leave To Remain

The private test will start week commencing 18th March. If you would like to take part, please email by 13th March confirming:

  • your immigration status or visa type in the subject line of the email; and
  • that you have your BRP card number to hand; and
  • that you would like to take part in the trial.

Once the Home Office receives your email, they will provide further details directly to you, including access instructions.

Participation in this trial is purely voluntary, there is no obligation on your part.

Skilled Worker salary changes - briefing session

To find out about updates to the Skilled Worker visa route taking effect on 4th April 2024, please book onto our Skilled Worker briefing on Thursday 21 March, 11.00 – 12.30, on Teams. The session will be recorded for those who are unable to attend at that time.

Immigration Rules updates - married partners and visitors

Unmarried partners

Visa applicants who are applying as dependants but are not married to the main visa holder will no longer have to prove that they have been living with the main applicant for at least two years. The wording of the requirement has changed: 

“Partner” means a person’s:
(a) spouse; or
(b) civil partner; or
(c) unmarried partner, where the couple have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or a civil partnership for at least two years.

Visitor visas

  • The Permitted Paid Engagement route has been removed; activities are now listed under Appendix Visitor.
  • Visitors may undertak activites remotely within the UK, provided this is not the primary purpose of the visit.
  • Scientists, researchers and academics may now collaborate with, and conduct research on, a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas but only if their stay is for 6 months or less. Academic Visitor visa holders whose stay is for 6-12 months cannot undertake collaborative research.

Please see:


Date changes come into effect: 31 January 2024
Date of announcement: 7 December 2023

Immigration Rules updates - Skilled Worker and Shortage Occupation List

On 4 December 2023 the UK Government announced wide-ranging measures aimed at reducing net legal migration to the UK. These include:

  1. abolishing the 20% ‘going rate’ discount rate for the Shortage Occupation List (SOL);
  2. reviewing and replacing the SOL with a new Immigration Salary List (ISL);
  3. increasing the Skilled Worker visa salary threshold by nearly 50%;
  4. increasing the minimum income requirement for those joining on a family visa to £38,700 (phased approach starting at £29,000.

Shortage Occupation List

The SOL is a list of occupations in which the UK Government deems there is a shortage of suitable skilled labour in the UK, and where it is considered appropriate to fill those shortages with migrant workers through a Skilled Worker visa. The advantages of jobs on the SOL are that they benefit from a lower minimum salary threshold and also a lower visa fee.

The Government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent public body sponsored by the Home Office, to undertake a rapid review of the SOL to ensure that the new ISL is fit for purpose, and this report has now been published. The MAC recommends that 8% of jobs eligible for Skilled Worker be on the ISL (down from 30% on the SOL). For us, the relevant roles are:

SOC code Description Salary threshold if on ISL
2112 Biological scientists £37,100
2115 Social and humanities scientists (archaeologists only) £36,400
3111 Laboratory technician (3+ years experience required) £30,960

These are currently only recommendations. We will update further once the UK government publishes its response.

Skilled Worker salary threshold

For those submitting an initial Skilled Worker visa application on or after 4th April 2024, the minimum salary is likely to increase significantly. This will be different for each job - salary must meet the higher of (a) the general threshold, which will increase from £26,200 to £38,700, and (b) the 'going rate' for the job, which we do not yet know.

However, we do know that:

  • the 'New Entrant' salary discount will continue; and
  • salaries of existing Skilled Worker visa holders will not need to be increased to meet the new minimum; and
  • when existing Skilled Worker visa holders come to apply to extend their permission, move to a new UK employer ('change of employment' applications) or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, the new minimum will not apply.

We will update this page when further information is available.


Date changes come into effect: 4 April 2024
Date of announcement: 4 December 2023

Increase to Immigration Health Surcharge fee

The cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), aka the NHS Surcharge, will increase in early 2024. A draft Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2023 was laid before Parliament on 19 October 2023 and the new fees will come into effect on the later of (a) 16 January 2024 and (b) 3 weeks after the Order is approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The new fees will be as follows:

  • Student or Youth Mobility Scheme visa: £776 per year of visa (currently £470)
  • Visa and immigration applicants who are under the age of 18 at time of application: £776 per year of visa (currently £470)
  • All other visa and immigration applications: £1,035 per year of visa (currently £624)


Date changes come into effect: 16 January 2023 at the earliest
Date of announcement: 24 October 2023