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Is Moving From Portugal to the UK in 2024 Worth it? New Immigration Rules

IS MOVING FROM PORTUGAL TO THE UK IN 2024 WORTH IT? NEW IMMIGRATION RULESThe UK government introduced new immigration rules that will reduce the influx of immigrants into the United Kingdom. Therefore, individuals moving to UK from Portugal via a Family visa UK or other visa types must understand and comply with the new immigration rules.

The UK is a sought-after destination for foreign nationals including Portuguese citizens who want greener pastures outside the shores of their countries.

Currently, there are more than 250,000 Portuguese nationals in the United Kingdom and Portuguese is widely spoken in England and Wales as it's ranked 10th most common language. However, after Brexit, EU citizens including Portuguese nationals must get a UK visa to enter the country and stay for more than 6 months. With the introduction of the new immigration rules, some of the requirements for these visas have been tightened to reduce net migration into the country. In this article, we intend to examine the new immigration rules UK 2024 and some visas Portuguese nationals can obtain to enter the United Kingdom.

UK Immigration New Rules 2024

The UK Home Secretary James Cleverly introduced new immigration rules on December 4, 2023, by unveiling a 5-point plan to reduce net migration to the UK. Before the announcement of the new immigration rules, statistics revealed 745,000 net migration of people by the year ending December 2022 and about 672,000 net migration of people by June year ending 2023.

Some of the reasons for the creation of the plan are to reduce immigration into the UK which was at an all-time high and also the goal to improve the domestic workforce in the United Kingdom. Another reason is to reduce the number of dependents in the UK who do not contribute to economic growth. 

On December 21, 2023, a follow-up announcement was made by the Home Office regarding the already announced immigration rules and it included adjustments and a phased implementation approach of the new rules. The new immigration rules increased the minimum income requirement for several UK visa types including the Family visa UK and Skilled Worker visa.

Moving to the UK From Portugal

Portuguese citizens and other residents of Portugal can move to the UK by obtaining different UK visas. The visas they'll get depend on their aim of entering the country. Despite the implementation of the new immigration rules, Portuguese citizens can still seek to further their education, get better job offers and more in the UK. Below are the UK visas individuals can obtain to move to the UK from Portugal and the changes made to them:

UK Student Visa

The UK has always been a sought-after destination for international students because of its robust education systems. Additionally, most of its universities and colleges are renowned worldwide as the best places to study. The Student visa allows its holder to enter the UK to pursue their academic career. An individual must first be offered admission into a UK educational institution for a course study before they're issued this visa. The new immigration rules the Home Office announced regarding Student visas came into effect in January 2024.

It has stopped non-UK students from bringing their dependents (family members) to the UK. This is one of the ways the UK government wants to reduce net migration. Previously, international students including Portuguese students were allowed to bring their children and spouses via Student visas, however, after the new rules, only students participating in postgraduate research programmes or PhD are permitted to bring dependents into the country. 

With the new rules, students must also complete their study programmes and get a job they must start after graduation to change to a Skilled Worker visa or any other Work visa. Also, with the new rules, PhD students must have completed at least 24 months of their programme before applying to switch to a Work visa.

UK Skilled Worker Visa

The UK is renowned for being a competitive job market and offers many opportunities across various industries. For this reason, it has been the right destination for recent graduates and skilled international workers. The UK Skilled Worker visa allows its holder to enter the United Kingdom and work for a licensed company. 

Portuguese residents must receive a job offer from a UK-licensed company that will sponsor them to come and work in the UK. Previously, the minimum income threshold was £26,200. However, after the new immigration rules, the minimum income threshold has increased to £38,700, or the going rate for the job.

Family Visa UK

The UK has an immigrant population of people from different cultures, perspectives and experiences. Portuguese nationals who want to join their immediate family member, spouse or children can apply for a UK Family visa. This visa is subdivided into Child Dependent, Spouse/Partner, Parent visa, and more. Therefore, the relationship between an applicant and their UK-based family member will determine the Family visa type they'll obtain.

Before the new immigration rules, applicants were required to meet a minimum income threshold set at £18,600. However, after the new rules, the minimum income threshold was raised to £29,000 and is expected to rise to £34,500 later in 2024 and £38,700 in 2025.

Final Thoughts

The UK government introduced new immigration rules to curb net migration. One major aim of introducing these rules is to welcome skilled international workers who will help boost the economy. They also plan to drastically reduce the number of dependents entering the UK with international students. However, Portuguese residents can still find greener pastures in the UK by furthering their academic career in the globally recognised educational institutions of the United Kingdom. 

Besides that, Portuguese residents who are experts in their line of work can also have a better life with the higher minimum income they’ll earn in the UK as they're open to have highly skilled talents who will help them contribute to the UK economy. When planning to enter the UK from Portugal, it's crucial to consult a professional immigration lawyer who is updated with the latest UK immigration rules. The lawyer will help to ensure that you provide all required documents, meet other eligibility criteria, and make a solid application so that you do not break the immigration rules.

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