Home Office row back on salary threshold for family/spouse visa

The government has rowed back on plans to hike the salary needed to bring family members to the UK to £38,700 next spring.

Now, the new salary threshold shall be set at £29,000.

The increase – from the current level of £18,600 – was announced earlier this month as part of a plan to lower legal migration.

But the new threshold will initially be set at £29,000, with further increases at unspecified dates thereafter.

Ministers had been facing pressure over the issue in recent weeks, amid warnings the new visa rules would keep families apart.

The government unveiled a package of measures to lower legal migration earlier this month, after figures showed it hit record levels last year.

Official estimates show net migration – the difference between the number of people coming to and leaving the UK – rose to 745,000 in 2022.

Home Office minister Lord Sharpe of Epsom has now confirmed the change of plan in answer to a parliamentary question.

He said the threshold would now rise to £29,000 in the spring, before then rising “in incremental stages” to give “predictability”.

He said the plan was for it eventually to rise to £34,500 and then £38,700 – but no dates were given.

Official statistics show that 82,395 family-related visas were issued in the year to September – 79% to partners, 13% to children and 8% to other relatives.

A policy document said the new £29,000 threshold could contribute a “low tens of thousands” cut towards the government’s overall target to cut legal migration by 300,000 this year.

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