Sajid Javid orders review into £30,000 salary threshold for immigrants post-Brexit

Posted On: 
24th June 2019

Sajid Javid has ordered a review into Theresa May’s proposed £30,000 threshold for immigrants to qualify for a work visa after the UK leaves the EU.

Sajid Javid has already ditched Theresa May's 100,000 a year net migration target
Credit: 
PA

The Home Secretary has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to look again at the proposals after criticism that the figure for someone to be considered a skilled worker was too high.

In a statement the Home Office said he has also asked them to consider whether there is any case for different salary thresholds in different areas, or if there are should be any exceptions.

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The aim would be to prevent shortages of skilled workers in certain sectors or UK regions, such as paramedics, lab technicians, chefs and junior doctors, who would fall below the £30,000 figure.

Mr Javid has previously hinted he wanted to see the numbers revisited, pointing to the lower median salaries in Scotland, a country which relies more heavily than the rest of the UK on migrant workers.

He has already dropped Mrs May’s target of 100,000 net migration a year, put in place when she was Home Secretary under David Cameron.

And now he is heavily hinting he would like to see the proposals contained in the Government’s Immigration White Paper, which outline how the next Prime Minister will deal with the issue once we are out of the EU, ripped up too.

The MAC had recommended the UK retain the existing minimum salary thresholds in the future immigration system, which includes paying experienced workers at least £30,000, and new entrants including recent graduates at least £20,800, in order to qualify for a five-year working visa.

But Mr Javid said he has written to the committee, saying: “It’s vital the new immigration system continues to attract talented people to grow our economy and support business while controlling our borders.

“These proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation, so it’s right that we consider all of the evidence before finalising them.

“That’s why I’ve asked independent experts to review the evidence on salary thresholds. It’s crucial the new immigration system works in the best interests of the whole of the UK.”

After the draft plans were published in December 2018 a year-long engagement programme with business and employers was set up.

But Mrs May's Cabinet was already split on the issue, with Chancellor Philip Hammond leading the charge against the £30,000 benchmark, and ministers arguing it would hamper the NHS and the wider public sector in recruiting staff after Brexit.

At the time Mr Javid hinted he was not in favour of the hard-line approach, saying on the day of the white paper's publication the threshold would be “discussed further”.

Earlier this year the Russell Group of the country’s leading universities said it would make it difficult to fill thousands of scientific, teaching and technician posts and is calling for it to be dropped to £21,000

The MAC is expected to report back by January 2020 when the Government begins finalising its plans, which are due to be phased in from 2021 on the basis a transition period with the EU is agreed.