A recent update by the UK Home Office outlines modifications to the immigration regulations that will take effect on the 12th and 13th of April 2023. The changes include increasing the minimum salary requirements for sponsored workers, introducing a new Innovator Founder route, and implementing a new Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme, which will apply to certain nationals from November 2023.
Effective from April 12, 2023, the new Statement of Changes raises the minimum salary criteria for work visa pathways, as follows:
- Global Business Mobility (Graduate Trainee): GBP23,100 to GBP24,220
- Global Business Mobility (Senior or Specialist Workers): GBP 42,400 to GBP 45,800
- Skilled Workers: GBP25,600 to GBP26,500
- Scale-up Worker Route: GBP33,000 to GBP34,600
Additionally, employers will now calculate salaries based on a 37.5-hour workweek, instead of the previous 39-hour workweek.
These increments are intended to mirror the most up-to-date UK salary information. It will be the responsibility of the employers to ensure that they are proposing compensations that equal or exceed both the universal wage threshold and the current rate stated in the corresponding profession code.
Innovator Founder Route
Starting from April 13, 2023, those aspiring to establish an innovative business in the UK can apply for the Innovator Founder path. The Innovator Founder route aims to offer greater flexibility than the previous Innovator and Start-up programs. This new initiative will not mandate applicants to have a minimum of £50,000 for business investment, and it will allow them to participate in skilled employment outside of their business operations.
Simultaneously with the launch of the Innovator Founder path, the Start-up program will cease accepting fresh first-time applications from April 13, 2023. Existing owners of a valid Start-up visa will be eligible to prolong their authorization until July 13, 2023, following which the path will be entirely terminated.
Moreover, the Innovator Founder route will also serve as a path to settlement for individuals who have resided continuously in the UK for three years.
Modifications due to International Trade Pacts with New Zealand, Australia and Japan
Under the Global Business Mobility (UK Expansion Worker) program, applicants who are permanent residents or citizens of Japan and Australian nationals will no longer need to work for the overseas employer for a minimum of 12 months before submitting their application.
Commencing from June 29, 2023, New Zealand citizens will be able to prolong their Youth Mobility visas for an additional year, for a maximum of three years, compared to the current maximum period of two years. Furthermore, this program will expand the age criteria for eligible New Zealand citizens from 18-30 to 18-35 years.
The UK will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system, which will mandate visitors and transit passengers obtain authorization before travelling to the UK. This scheme will initially be applied to Qatari citizens starting from November 15, 2023, and they can begin applying from October 25, 2023. It will subsequently extend to nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates who plan to travel from February 22, 2024, and they can begin applying from February 1, 2024. Other nationals will eventually receive the ETA system at a later date.
You can submit your application for the UK ETA through the UK ETA app or online. The authorities should make a decision on your application within three working days.
British or Irish passport holders, as well as individuals who possess a UK visa or residency permit to study, work, or live in the UK, will not require an ETA.