Rishi Sunak toughens UK visa rules to cut immigration: 'Radical action'
The tough new immigration rules are said to reduce the number of people able to move to the U.K. each year by hundreds of thousands.
Under pressure from Tory MPs, the British government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday announced a raft of measures to drastically reduce migration levels. The UK home office said that the move would impact around 300,000 individuals who would no longer be eligible to enter the UK based on the new measures, which include raising the minimum salary the migrants must earn in a skilled job by a third.
Sunak said the level of net migration was too high and he was determined to change it.
“We've just announced the biggest ever cut in net migration. No Prime Minister has done this before in history,” he said in a social media post.
Here are the key measures announced by Sunak's government:
- Dependant Restrictions: The government plans to put an end to high numbers of dependants entering the UK, forming a crucial part of the strategy to reduce migration.
- Salary Threshold Increases: The minimum salaries for overseas workers and British or settled individuals sponsoring family members will see a substantial hike. The earning threshold for overseas workers will surge by almost 50%, from £26,200 to £38,700, with a similar increase for British citizens sponsoring family members.
- Health and Care Visa Tightening: The Health and Care visa, previously a significant avenue for care workers and their dependents, will see restrictions. Overseas care workers will no longer be allowed to bring dependants to the UK, and care providers can only sponsor migrant workers involved in activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
- Crackdown on Cut-Price Labour: The government will eliminate the 20% salary discount for shortage occupations and introduce an Immigration Salary List, reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee to align with increased salary thresholds.
- Student Dependant Restrictions: Measures are already in place to tackle the rise in students bringing dependants to the UK. These changes are expected to impact net migration significantly, with approximately 153,000 visas granted to dependants of sponsored students in the year ending September 2023.
The government asserts that these measures collectively reinforce the principle that those who wish to live and work in the UK must be self-sufficient, contribute to the economy, and not become a burden on the state.
Labour's home affairs spokesperson Yvette Cooper accused the Conservatives of being in a "chaotic panic" over immigration.
"Today's statement is an admission of years of total failure by this Conservative government," she told parliament.