Interior Minister James Cleverly announced on Monday new measures for immigrants, which is to take effect from next year’s Spring Statement, aimed at cutting net migration. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that the net migration had hit a record of 745,000 in 2022, offset by 557,000 emigrants.
The statistics contradicted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to curb new arrivals, pressuring the PM to implement tougher visa rules to add to the higher visa fees. In 2015, before the Brexit referendum, the net migration was at a mere 329,000. However, the recent special visa schemes for Ukraine and Hong Kong attracted 114,000 and 52,000 arrivals, respectively.
Moreover, certain sectors requested approval from the government to hire overseas staff to counteract labour shortages. Add to it the previous years’ illegal migration of tens of thousands of people arriving in the UK from continental Europe through small boats.
The UK government is currently performing an extensive overhaul, arriving at new salary thresholds for skilled foreign workers, Shortage Occupation List (SOL) reform and ongoing assessments, and more. “This package plus our reduction in student dependents will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year,” Cleverly stated.
The new migration rules package is set to be included in the Spring Statement 2024, alongside further updates on the currently examined aspects. Here are the latest highlights as Cleverly announced:
Salary Threshold Increase
Skilled overseas workers who want a UK visa will have to earn £38,700 instead of the lower threshold of £26,200, which is over a third more. However, health and social care workers, as well as teachers with national pay scales, are exempted, which means they can still get a visa despite remaining in the lower salary threshold but restricted from bringing family dependents.
Shortage Occupation List (SOL)
Student Dependents Restriction
National Health Service (NHS) Surcharge Increase
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