Home Secretary James Cleverly has announced new measures which aim to cut annual net migration by 300,000
The Home Secretary has announced a new plan to cut migration levels in the UK, which includes increasing the earning threshold by almost 50%.
From next spring, the government will increase starting salaries for overseas workers from its current level of £26,200 to £38,700.
The new measures are intended to reduce annual net migration by 300,000.
As part of the plan, the government will replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List. The current list includes skilled workers such as bricklayers and chartered surveyors.
The government will also scrap the 20% going rate salary discount for shortage occupations, while the new Immigration Salary List will retain a general threshold discount.
The Migration Advisory Committee will review the new list against the increased salary thresholds in order to reduce the number of occupations on the list.
The Migration Advisory Committee will also be asked to undertake a review of the graduate visa route.
Earlier this year, the government announced a package of measures to cut the number of student visas being issued.
This included removing the right for international students to bring dependants unless they are on postgraduate research courses and removing the ability for international students to switch onto work routes before their studies are completed.
This will come into force for courses starting in January 2024.
Commenting on the migration plans, Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “It is clear that net migration remains far too high. By leaving the European Union we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain.
“My plan will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration and will mean around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would not have been able to do so. I am taking decisive action to halt the drastic rise in our work visa routes and crack down on those who seek to take advantage of our hospitality.”
Charlotte Wills, a partner at global immigration law firm Fragomen said: “The UK immigration system is quick and objective. The question is, with the new increases to salary thresholds and other measures, combined with yet more rises to soon to be introduced fees, has the government gone too far in prioritising politics over economics and risks undoing the good work so far done by the immigration system?
“The 47.7% increase of the salary threshold for sponsored workers is truly staggering and raises concerns for those sectors who have relied on migrant workers post-Brexit to fill labour shortages whilst implementing training programmes to solve the problem on a longer-term basis.”