Employment and pensions

Immigration Update | October 2023

Published on 27th Oct 2023

There are major developments and changes underway in the world of UK immigration as the last months of 2023 approach. This edition covers the significant issues employers are now facing following the recent increase in fees and, while the implemented increases are not huge, the forthcoming changes will bring a dramatic increase to the cost of hiring overseas talents. We have two short summaries of what employers need to know, covering the background and what can be done?

The Migration Advisory Committee has recently published its review of the shortage occupation list. Normally, this wouldn’t be anything too dramatic but the scathing attack on the governments immigration policy, as well as its recommendations for the future, make this a noteworthy event – and something all sponsors of overseas workers should be looking at when planning for the future.

We look at the impact of artificial intelligence in the immigration world, and highlight what businesses need to be aware of in our round-up of policy and legislation developments. Especially relevant to many will be the recently announced updates to the EU Settlement Scheme and its beneficiaries. 

Please do reach out to your usual OC contact if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised.

UK Visa and Immigration fee increases: the background

Substantial application fee increases could have a significant financial impact on applicants and sponsors

Fees for immigration and nationality applications in and outside the UK increased on 4 October 2023. The increase is expected to affect overseas workers and their employers as well as the wider immigration market and UK economy.


UK Visa and Immigration fee increases: the dilemma for employers

A decision not to hire an overseas worker due to the costs of the visa process is potential discrimination 

Despite the rhetoric around "taking control of our borders" during the Brexit debate, the eligibility thresholds for roles that qualify for sponsorship ("work permits") has fallen dramatically since Brexit.  Therefore, more junior and lower paid roles can be sponsored.


AI's growth raises immigration considerations for UK government and employers

The EU's AI Act categorises immigration as a high-risk area for AI but there is no equivalent legislation yet in the UK

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasing focus for government and businesses in 2023 – and AI technology is likely to play a larger part in immigration processes in the future both in terms of Home Office processing and employer decisions.

As the UK government appears to favour guidance over regulation in this area, it is particularly important for employers to be aware of potential risks and benefits related to AI.

Read more >

The UK tuberculosis-testing requirement has changed

Employers need to be aware of the changes, as obtaining TB certification can take time English Language

The UK's Immigration Rules' "appendix tuberculosis" came into effect on 5 October and replaced paragraphs A39, B39 and C39 of and "appendix T" of the rules.

Read more >

UK immigration update: a round-up of developments

ETIAS delays, new rules for Uruguayans and for English language requirements, and updates to the EU Settlement Scheme

As well as the most recent adjustments to the UK Immigration Rules bringing about major changes, Uruguayan nationals have been added to the Youth Mobility Scheme, there have been further delays for the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and changes have been made to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Read more >

UK Migration Advisory Committee reviews the shortage occupation list

Are significant changes ahead for the skilled worker route?

As a result of numerous factors, including Brexit, Covid-19 and the wider UK economy, there has been a significant impact on the labour market with workforce shortages across the economy. This goes some way to explain the number of foreign workers being at the highest it has ever been.

Over the last decade, hospitality and the professional and scientific sectors have had the strongest growth in employees, whereas there has been slow growth in agriculture, construction, and retail and wholesale.

Read more >


* 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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