Saturday , February 24 2024

UK rises minimum salary for foreign workers

06-12-2023

LONDON: The UK government, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has announced stringent measures to curtail the influx of migrants through legal channels.

Interior Minister James Cleverly outlined key changes, including raising the minimum salary threshold for foreign skilled workers from £26,200 to £38,700, revising the exceptions list for job shortages, and tightening regulations on family reunification.

Cleverly, emphasizing the need for a reduction in migration, stated, “Migration to this country is far too high and needs to come down, and today we are taking more robust action than any other government before.” These measures are set to be implemented in the upcoming spring.

While aimed at addressing concerns over high migration levels, these measures may spark disagreements with business owners struggling to hire in the tight labor market. Annual net migration reached a record 745,000 last year, prompting the government’s commitment to reducing numbers.

Cleverly estimates that these measures, coupled with a reduction in student dependents, could result in approximately 300,000 fewer people entering the UK in the coming years compared to the previous year.

Today the focus was on legal migration, but as soon as tomorrow it’s likely to be on illegal immigration and the government’s frequently thwarted aim of sending migrants to Rwanda.

Net migration, the difference between the number of people coming to live in the UK and those leaving has ballooned at just the point (after Brexit) that the government at Westminster holds all the levers to control it.

That is an accountability pinch point if ever you saw one hence the anguish of many Conservative MPs attempting to reconcile a number treble the one they promised to cut four years ago.

That is the context for today’s plan which at its heart has the claim that around 300,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK last year would not be able to in future but what of the tradeoffs, the consequences for care homes and universities, for instance? And what of the political implications, given it could be after the general election before these policies if retained make any significant difference to the numbers?

For ministers, this is about showing they get it and that plenty want to see the numbers shrivel. The big questions are will they, and when?

The minimum salary needed to get a skilled worker visa to the UK is increasing to £38,700

That’s an increase of almost 50% on the current level and is designed to reduce migration to the UK.

Health and social care visas will be exempt from the new higher threshold, in order to meet NHS staffing needs but care workers will no longer be allowed to bring their dependents. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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