UK’s New Plan For Overseas Students, Skilled Workers To Cut Migration

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UK's New Plan For Overseas Students, Skilled Workers To Cut Migration

Rishi Sunak has long described regular immigration levels as “too high”. (Representational)

New Delhi:

In a major step, the UK government today announced “radical action” to bring immigration down, including hiking the minimum salary that skilled foreign workers will need to earn if they want a visa to work in the UK. The move comes after official figures showed net migration to the UK hit a record high of 7,45,000 in 2022, piling pressure on Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who has vowed to reduce new arrivals.

“Immigration is too high. Today we’re taking radical action to bring it down. These steps will make sure that immigration always benefits the UK,” Rishi Sunak posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The measures include banning overseas students from bringing family members to the UK, unless they are on postgraduate research degrees and increasing the salary threshold for foreign workers to 38,000 pounds (Rs 40,01,932).

Interior minister James Cleverly said that from early next year, skilled overseas workers will have to earn 38,700 pounds, up from the current level of 26,200 pounds (Rs 27,58,718.52).

“Enough is enough,” the home secretary told parliament as he laid out his proposals, which will take effect early next year.

“Our new immigration plan will mean we decisively cut net migration and create a system that works for the British people,” the Home Office said in a statement.

The UK Immigration Plan:

1. Stopping overseas care workers bringing family dependants and require care firms in England to be registered with the Care Quality Commission to sponsor visas.

– It is estimated this change with reduce arrivals on this route by more than 20 per cent by 2024-25.

2. Increasing the earnings threshold by a third to 38,700 pounds from next Spring for those using the skilled worker route, in line with the median full-time wage for these kinds of jobs.

3. Scrapping cut-price shortage labour from overseas, by ending the 20 per cent going rate salary discount for shortage occupations and reforming the Shortage Occupation List.

4. We will more than double the minimum income for family visas to 38,700 pounds – the same threshold as the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers.

5. Tightening the rules on students bringing family members to the UK. The Migration Advisory Committee will also review the graduate route.

Mr Sunak has long described regular immigration levels as “too high”.

Immigration – long a vexed political issue in Britain – is set to be a key issue in a general election expected next year, which the main opposition Labour Party is currently a favourite to win.

Legal migration has soared since Britain formally left the European Union in January 2020. In 2021, net migration was 488,000.

On top of the record number of legal migrants, Mr Sunak is struggling to cut the number of irregular arrivals crossing the Channel from northern France on small boats.

More than 28,000 have undertaken the dangerous crossing this year.

The government has deemed such crossings illegal but its much-trumpeted plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was struck down by the courts last week.

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