Whilst we wait for the Conservatives and the Labour Party to publish their manifestos for the 2024 General Election, the Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto on 10 June 2024. 

Here are the key points taken directly from the Liberal Democrats' manifesto that are relevant to private wealth immigration:

Key points

  • Transfer policy-making over work visas and overseas students out of the Home Office and into other departments.
  • Replace the Conservatives’ arbitrary salary threshold with a more flexible merit-based system for work visas, with the relevant department working with employers in each sector to address specific needs as part of a long-term workforce strategy that also focuses on education and training to address skills gaps from within the UK.
  • Expand the Youth Mobility Scheme by:
    - Negotiating with the EU to extend it on a reciprocal basis.
    - Increasing the age limit from 30 to 35.
    - Abolishing the fees for these visas.
    - Extending the length of visas from two to three years.
  • Reverse the Conservatives’ unfair increase to income thresholds for family visas, so that no more families are torn apart.
  • Protect the rights of EU citizens and their families in the UK by:
    - Automatically granting full Settled Status to all those with Pre-Settled Status.
    - Providing them with physical proof of their right to stay.
  • Overhaul the Immigration Rules to make them simpler, clearer and fairer, and ensure greater parliamentary scrutiny of future changes.
  • Establish a firewall to prevent public agencies from sharing personal information with the Home Office for the purposes of immigration enforcement and repeal the immigration exemption in the Data Protection Act.


We note that the Liberal Democrats did not mention an investment-based visa route in their manifesto. 

Politics and policies aside, the bullet points above could raise operational issues, for example: 

  • Taking the policy-making out of the Home Office (just for the work and student visas) could mean that the policy-makers are less familiar with the system, rules and how they apply (at least in the short term), and lead to more delays with the decision-making.
  • Under the current EU Settlement Scheme ("EUSS"), automated checks on residence are carried out based on tax and certain benefit records (with HMRC and DWP).  It has meant that the majority of EUSS applications are processed quickly.  If the Liberal Democrats want to establish “a firewall to prevent public agencies from sharing personal information with the Home Office for the purposes of immigration enforcement”, then how will it work in practice with the existing IT system at the Home Office?
  • The UK has been moving towards digitalising immigration statuses for a number of years.  It seems at odds to introduce physical proof for the EUSS now, especially when all the Biometric Residence Permits are meant to be phased out by 31 December 2024.  (I was always worried about forgetting and/or losing my Biometric Residence Permit when I had one!)   
  • As someone who practises both tax and immigration laws, I can say that the Immigration Rules are comparatively simpler and clearer!  However, overhauling the Immigration Rules is likely to require a significant amount of time, resources and prioritisation.  

How can we help?

Burges Salmon's specialists have substantial experience in immigration, tax, trusts, and estate planning for international clients.  If you wish to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please do get in touch with Suzanna Harvey, Myra Leung or your usual contact within the team.