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UK introduces package of measures aimed at curbing migration

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UK Home Secretary James Cleverly has announced new measures to cut record net migration figures.

 

James Cleverly pledged to slash arrivals by around 300,000 a year by making it much harder for foreign workers to bring family members and hiking the minimum earnings needed to secure two key types of visa. He said the measures are being introduced in a bid to “control immigration and stop abuses of the system.”

 

The Home Secretary also vowed to ‘scrap cut-price shortage labour from overseas’ by overhauling shortage job lists and has ordered a review of rules allowing students to stay in the UK for up to three years after graduating.

 

“Enough is enough,” the home secretary told parliament as he laid out his proposals, which will take effect early next year. Cleverly said skilled foreign workers wanting a UK visa would have to earn £38,700 ($48,860), up from £26,200, just over a third more. He said the move will ‘stop immigration undercutting the salary of British workers’.

 

The current median average salary for full-time workers in the UK is currently £34,963. But the changes mean foreign workers would have to secure higher salaries than their British counterparts in ‘skilled’ jobs where a typical salary is below £38,700.

 

The Home Secretary however exempted health and social care workers where there are currently staff shortages, in part because of Brexit, but said they would be prevented from bringing family dependents.

Cleverly raised the minimum income for family visas and confirmed restrictions on international students bringing dependents. He also reaffirmed that Britain would increase the surcharge that migrants pay to access the state-run National Health Service (NHS) by 66 percent, to £1,035. Cleverly added that the government would reform the “shortage occupation list”, which details jobs for which employers are not able to find enough British workers.

Critics have said this effectively imposes a double charge on migrant workers, as employees have National Insurance charges, which goes towards covering healthcare, deducted from wages at source.

Around 120,000 dependants moved to the UK with 100,000 care workers in the year ending September 2023, according to government figures. Mr Cleverly said only a quarter of them are estimated to be in work, meaning ‘a significant number are drawing on public services rather than helping to grow the economy’.


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