Visa petitions top 150,000 just weeks before higher minimum salary restrictions start to come into force

Visa petitions urging the Home Office to cut its new higher minimum wage thresholds for foreign worker and family visas have topped 150,000 just weeks before the restrictions start to come into force.

Ministers are introducing a series of visa changes for people coming to the UK, and their family members, in a drive to bring down legal immigration.

A rise in the minimum salary needed for those arriving on a Skilled Worker Visa, from £26,200 to £38,700, will kick in from April 4.

A week later, the wage required for those wanting to bring family to Britain will also start to go up.

So from April 11, British workers will have to be earning at least £29,000 annually to bring dependents from overseas to the UK on a family visa - a hefty rise from the existing £18,600 minimum salary needed.

The threshold is due to jump further, to £34,500 before finally reaching £38,700 in 2025.

A series of petitions launched on opposing the reforms had by Thursday attracted 153,857 signatures, with thousands of individuals signing several of them.

Nick Mitchell, Head of UK at, said: "Since the Government announced the changes to visa rules and salary thresholds before Christmas, there has been a growing wave of new petitions on this issue on, often started by people personally affected.

"The fact that the number of signatures across these petitions has reached 150,000 shows the strength of opposition to the changes, and how active the campaigns have become.

“This also sends a strong, collective message to James Cleverly and the Home Office."

Ministers are bringing in the new restrictions after net migration to the UK hit a record 745,000 in 2022, significantly driven by arrivals from Ukraine and Hong Kong.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The current levels of migration to the UK are far too high. That is why the government announced a plan to cut the number of migrants coming to the UK by 300,000 a year – the largest reduction ever.

“We have a longstanding principle that anyone bringing dependants to live in the UK must be able to financially support them. The Minimum Income Requirement ensures that families are self-sufficient instead of relying on public funds, with the ability to integrate if they are to play a full part in British life.”

But the Mayor of London has warned of the harm to Britain’s economy and workforce of some of the visa reforms.

The Campaign for Science and Engineering is also raising the alarm about the impact of the new restrictions.

Dr Daniel Rathbone, interim executive director of CaSE, said: “Big increases in visa costs and restrictive immigration rules do nothing to help us achieve our collective ambitions for UK R&D and are totally counterproductive to the UK Government’s ambitions of being a science and technology superpower.

“If we want to carry out the best science, we need the best talent the world has to offer.”

CaSE is warning that the hike in the minimum salary needed for those arriving on a Skilled Worker Visa is likely to have a “direct consequence” on recruiting international talent into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sectors in the UK.

The group, whose membership spans 114 scientific organisations including businesses, universities, societies and charities, and individual scientists and engineers, is urging the Government to adopt a series of measures such as reducing the upfront cost of UK visas, increase visa flexibility and mitigate the impact of visa changes on students and universities.