The UK government has unveiled a comprehensive five-point plan in a bid to curb immigration.
Mixed reactions have trailed the plan, which encompasses various measures, such as prohibiting care workers from relocating with their families and increasing the minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas.
Pressure is mounting on James Cleverly, who assumed the role of Home Secretary just three weeks ago, to demonstrate a firm stance on immigration.
“Enough is enough,” Cleverly told MPs on Monday. “Immigration policy must be fair, legal, and sustainable,” he said.
According to Sky News, there is growing anger among Conservatives regarding the recent setback in the Supreme Court regarding the Rwanda deportation scheme.
The Court declared the British government’s proposal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as illegal. If approved, the UK would have been able to send anyone who entered the country illegally to Rwanda.
Additionally, it has been revealed that net migration reached 745,000 last year.
1,180,000 individuals entered the UK with the intention of remaining for at least a year in the year that ended in June 2023, as reported by the BBC.
The latest figures by the UK Office of National Statistics shows that majority of people arriving the UK, about 968,000, are from non-EU countries.
The top five non-EU nationalities were:
- Indian (253,000)
- Nigerian (141,000)
- Chinese (89,000)
- Pakistani (55,000)
- Ukrainian (35,000)
The home secretary described the new policy as a “more robust” plan than any previous government’s stance on migration.
In this report, PUNCH Online explains the UK’s five-point plan to cut immigration:
- Health and care visas
A measure to put a stop to the “abuse of the health and care visa” has been proposed, which would prohibit overseas care workers from bringing their dependents. The government defines a dependant as a husband or wife, a civil partner or single partner, and children under the age of eighteen.
- Skilled worker visa minimum salary change
The minimum salary requirement for obtaining a skilled worker visa, currently set at £26,000, has been increased to £38,700. This is a 50% increase.
- Shortage occupation list
The Shortage Occupation list is a list that includes jobs that the UK government believes are hard to fill in the labour market for UK residents. These jobs have softer requirements for qualifying for sponsored work visas. However, that is about to change as a result of the new policy, which eliminates the 20% minimum wage reduction offered to those applying for a visa in Shortage Occupations.
Moreover, Cleverly said that the list would be trimmed and reviewed. The current list includes graphics designers, construction workers, vets, programmers, laboratory technicians, among others.
- Family visas
To further “ensure people only bring dependants whom they can support financially,” the minimum requirement for a family visa will also be increased to £38,700, from £18,600, the rate from 2012.
- Student Visas
“In total, this package, plus our reduction in students dependants, will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year,” Mr Cleverly told MPs.
The government has requested that the Migration Advisory Committee review the graduate route. So changes to the Students Visa are expected to be announced soon.