Visa Salary Threshold Raised To £38,700 In New Measures To Lower Legal Migration
Home Secretary James Cleverly has announced that the salary threshold for visas will be raised to nearly £40,000, and care workers will no longer be able to bring dependents to the UK in efforts to bring down legal migration numbers.
Cleverly told MPs on Monday that “migration to this country is far too high and needs to come down,” and said that ministers are taking “more robust action” to tackle the issue.
Figures updated last month showed that net migration totalled 745,000 people in 2022, and ministers have been under pressure to announce new measures to bring those numbers down.
Among the new measures, the skilled worker visa salary threshold will now be set at £38,700, aside from people who would be coming to the UK to work in health and social care.
However, care workers will no longer be able to bring dependents with them if they migrate to the UK, as Cleverly pledged to “end the abuse” of the health and care visa.
Addressing the Commons, he said that he is “determined to crack down on those who try and jump the queue and exploit our immigration system”.
He added: “British people will always do the right thing by those in need.
“But also – and they are absolutely right to – want to reduce overall immigration numbers, not only by stopping the boats and shutting down illegal routes, but by well managed reduction in legal migration.”
As well as the salary threshold and changes to dependents for health workers, ministers will reform the shortage occupation list and axe the 20 per cent discounted minimum salary for jobs on that list. Family visas will also have their minimum salary threshold raised to £38,700, and the graduate visa route will also be subject to review.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the statement as “an admission of years of total failure” by the government.
“The Conservatives are in chaos, they’ve got no serious plan for the economy, no serious plan for the immigration system, no serious plan for the country," she said.
“Britain deserves better than this.”
The changes are expected to be brought in from the Spring, and Cleverly claimed in the Commons that it could mean 300,000 fewer people eligible to come to the UK.
The Prime Minister's official spokesperson said that the plans will reduce migrant numbers "while achieving economic growth".
"Obviously it will be for forecasters to come to their independent decisions," they said.
They added that the proposals don't "prevent us from going further should we choose to do so in the future”.
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