Regulatory Outlook

Employment and immigration | UK Regulatory Outlook March 2024

Published on 27th Mar 2024

Actions for employers in March/April | EU agrees watered-down Platform Workers Directive – what will platforms and staffing companies need to prepare for? | All change for staffing and platform worker arrangements in the UK – new consultations, announcements and likely manifesto commitments

Actions for employers in March/April 

With a number of new employment rights, as well as adjustments to existing entitlements, coming into force in April, employers will need to ensure that they are aware of the changes and have taken the necessary steps to reflect them in any processes and policies, as well as training for staff and managers. 

March and April will also see some employees, and other individuals with whom businesses engage, such as customers and suppliers, observing religious holy days and festivals; appropriate accommodations will need to be carefully considered and addressed sensitively, reflecting individual needs. See our Insight for more.

EU agrees watered-down Platform Workers Directive – what will platforms and staffing companies need to prepare for?

EU ministers have finally agreed, on 11 March, a provisional deal for the Platform Workers Directive (PWD). Importantly, it includes a presumption of employment status in certain circumstances, such that where those circumstances apply, it will be for the "employer" or platform to prove that the worker is not an employee. 

But it does not introduce an EU-wide "test" for determining the circumstances when employment status will apply, with the original proposal for an "if you pass three of these five tests you are an employee" mechanism having been dropped as a result of opposition from a blocking minority of four EU countries. In other words, it will be down to each country to decide what control features will constitute the circumstances which give rise to the presumption of employment, and each country will be free to decide what classes as "control" or "direction" for these purposes. Read more in our Insight.

All change for staffing and platform worker arrangements in the UK – new consultations, announcements and likely manifesto commitments

The next 12 to 18 months seem likely to involve what may be the biggest changes to the UK staffing and platform worker landscape since Michael Heseltine ended the old UK recruitment licensing regime 30 years ago. Users and suppliers of contract and gig workers are already beginning to work out how the Labour Party plans might affect them, and the Spring Budget announcement and some related developments add other things to the mix. Read more in our Insight.

Statement of changes HC 590: salary requirement increased, shortage occupation list replaced

On 14 March 2024 a statement of changes and explanatory memorandum to the immigration rules was published, to bring in changes to the immigration rules following the government's announcement earlier this year.

The immigration minister made a statement summarising the changes relating to the skilled worker, appendix FM partner, the EU settlement scheme, the new immigration salary list (which replaces the shortage occupation list), and administrative review for EU settlement scheme applications.

Some notable changes:

Skilled Workers

Applications that have been made using a certificate of sponsorship issued before 4 April 2024 will be decided under the rules in place on 3 April 2024.

Employers must from 4 April 2024 pay those entering the skilled worker route a general salary threshold of £38,700 or the going rate for the role (as per the SOC Codes 2020), whichever is higher.

Spouse of a British or settled individual

Those applying under the five year route to settlement as a partner (under Appendix FM of the rules) will need to meet a minimum income requirement of £29,000 for applications made on or after 11 April 2024. There will be no additional income requirement for children.

EU Settlement Scheme

On 4 April 2024 Appendix Administrative Review (EU) will be amended to remove the ability to make an out of time application for administrative review of an eligible EUSS decision made before 5 October 2023.

There are still a significant amount of questions in relation to how changes will apply in practice (for example to skilled workers already in the UK), and fuller guidance is anticipated in due course.


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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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