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The Politics of UK Immigration in 2024

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The Conservatives and Labour have published their manifestos. Our Immigration Solicitors have poured over them to see what the two parties are saying about planned changes to immigration policy.

In this blog, we look at the key points in the Conservative and Labour manifestos as UK businesses gear up for immigration policy changes after 4 July 2024.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For immigration law training and legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Net migration

Both parties intend to reduce net UK migration with the Conservatives saying that they will introduce an annual cap on the number of Work Visas and Family Visas the Home Office will be allowed to issue. The cap would be set by Parliament in an annual vote. Labour has said it intends to reduce net migration but without giving the specific number it is aiming for.

Work Visas

Labour plans to reduce the UK's reliance on overseas workers by reforming the apprenticeship levy to improve the skills of UK workers. However, what may benefit UK sponsor licence holders is Labour’s plan to review the increase in the minimum salary threshold for the Skilled Worker Visa. The Conservatives intend to increase the minimum salary threshold for the Skilled Worker Visa in line with inflation.

Currently, neither the Conservatives nor Labour plans to widen the Youth Mobility Scheme to enable young people from the EU to come to the UK to work and vice versa. Neither party manifesto mentions the reintroduction of Investor Visas.

What may be of concern to some businesses with sponsor licences is the Labour plan to:

  • Stop companies from sponsoring workers if the company is not doing enough workforce training
  • Increase cooling off periods before a company can apply for a new sponsor licence after a sponsor licence revocation
  • Create new bodies to investigate the exploitation of sponsored workers on Health and Care Worker Visas and those in the UK on Seasonal Work Visas

The Labour manifesto says that the party intends to bring in training plans for some sectors of the economy, such as health and social care and construction. There is no clarity yet on whether compliance with training plans would be necessary before overseas sponsorship would be permitted.

Family Visas

The Conservatives plan to cap the number of Family Visas, including Spouse Visas, available to issue each year. The Conservatives have also said they will continue with the planned rise in the Family Visa financial requirement from the current £29,000 to £34,500 and then to £38,700. The Conservatives will then continue to increase the Family Visa financial requirement in line with inflation.

Labour has not spelt out its plans on the financial requirement for Family Visas but it is committed to reducing net migration.

Immigration fees

The Conservatives intend to increase immigration fees by:

  • Increasing visa fees by twenty-five percent
  • Stopping the reduced immigration health surcharge for students. This would mean those affected would pay £1,035 in immigration health surcharge rather than the current discounted £776
  • Increasing the immigration health surcharge or requiring a visa applicant to have private health insurance if the visa applicant is thought to be a potential likely burden on the NHS

The Labour manifesto does not say anything on immigration fees.

Rwanda policy and asylum seekers

Labour will not go ahead with the Conservatives’ Rwanda policy but instead will focus on stopping the boats and people smuggling by recruiting additional staff and negotiating returns.

Labour will remain a member of the European Convention of Human Rights whilst the Conservatives may not do so if forced to choose between remaining a signatory to the convention or enforcing UK borders.

Immigration Law Services and Law Training from OTS Solicitors

At OTS Solicitors our Immigration Law Training is gearing up so we can provide UK and overseas businesses and individuals with the information and legal advice you need as the immigration rules continue to evolve in 2024.

Our Individual Immigration and Business Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers can provide:

  • One-off training or a series of training sessions
  • On-line or in-person training
  • Sector and visa-specific training
  • Practical know-how

If you want to find out more about our immigration services for businesses or individuals or our Immigration Law Training, please call us or email us to sign up to our mailing list for upcoming Immigration Law Training.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For immigration law training and legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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