Home Secretary James Cleverly unveiled stringent measures on legal migration, anticipating a 300,000 yearly reduction in arrivals to Britain. Notably, the new rules restrict family dependants for overseas care workers and elevate the salary threshold for skilled workers to £38,000 ($47,900), marking the “largest reduction” in numbers.
The strategy aims to address soaring net migration levels, peaking at 745,000 in 2022. Cleverly emphasized the need to curb visa system abuses while outlining plans, including stopping health and care workers from bringing dependants and raising income thresholds.
This package, reducing students’ dependants by 140,000 and social care workers by 100,000, seeks to trim migration. However, critics like Labour’s Yvette Cooper and organizations like the CBI and NHS Providers argue that these changes could exacerbate shortages in critical sectors like health and social care.
The government defended the measures, highlighting instances of nonexistent jobs or underpayment. Despite concerns, Cleverly exempted health and social care visa holders from the raised salary threshold to alleviate staffing shortages.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, under pressure from Tory MPs, aims to fulfill promises made in the 2019 manifesto to reduce overall migration. The increase in the skilled workers’ salary threshold to £38,000 falls short of a previously rumored £40,000, with reports suggesting discussions for a higher cap at £45,000.
Sunak faces challenges on immigration policies, especially after the Supreme Court deemed his asylum policy unlawful. Efforts are ongoing to secure agreements and emergency legislation after a legal setback.
Cleverly’s imminent trip to Kigali aims to finalize a treaty with Rwanda, possibly influencing the legal standing of the government’s immigration policies.