Date updated: Wednesday 3rd April 2024

The Government’s five-point plan to reduce net migration to the UK was announced in December and brings significant reforms to sponsored work visas, but also the Family Visa route for British citizens and permanent residents.

You can read the minister’s statement here and our discussion of impacts for individuals and families living and working in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a British citizen or person settled in the UK below.

British citizens or people settled in the UK will need to meet a minimum income requirement of £29,000 in order to sponsor their spouse or partner’s Family Visa applications, from 11 April 2024. This is a significant increase from the current Family Visa threshold of £18,600. The threshold is a flat rate irrespective of family size, as the additional income requirement for children has been dropped.  

There are also changes for applicants relying solely on cash savings rather than income to meet the threshold. The total amount of cash savings required will increase from £62,500 to £88,500 from 11 April 2024. 

For those who did not submit their Family visa prior to 11 April 2024 but are intending to do so in the near future, they should be aware of the Government’s plan to further increase the threshold again to £34,500 later in 2024, and then £38,700 by early 2025.

Individuals currently living and working in the UK on the basis of a Partner Visa should be able to extend their visa and apply to settle in the UK on the basis of the current minimum salary income requirement (£18,600).  Equally, those with Fiancé/e Visas in place should be able to marry or enter a civil partnership, and then apply as partners and ultimately to settle in the UK on the current lower rate. 

The key date requirement is to have made and paid for an application online by no later than 11 April 2024.  Provided an application is submitted by that date, individuals can rely on the lower £18,600 minimum salary.  This means individuals who apply for a fiancé/e visa to get married or enter a civil partnership in the UK or apply for a Partner Visa prior to 11 April, will still have a pathway to settlement in the UK on the basis of the current minimum salary income requirement of £18,600.

There is also a new restriction on the definition of parent, limiting this to biological parent, legal parent and adoptive parent, and removing step-parents, from 6 June 2024.

There is a limited window available to make an application under the lower salary rate. If you require support with navigating the complex supporting evidence rules or require careful checking of your application to avoid an expensive refusal, please contact us for a private client consultation with a member of our specialist team – we can support with advice, application review, and full end to end support.