Britain announces tougher visa rules to reduce migration
Home secretary James Cleverly says the new measures mean about 300,000 fewer people will be allowed in
London — Britain sought to cut the number of migrants arriving in Britain through legal routes on Monday, raising the minimum salary they must earn in a job by a third after record net migration in 2022 piled pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to act.
High levels of legal migration have for more than a decade dominated Britain’s political landscape and Sunak has promised to gain more control after MPs in his Conservative Party criticised his record ahead of an election expected next year.
Home secretary James Cleverly said the government would raise the minimum salary threshold for foreign skilled workers to £38,700, from its current level of £26,200, reform the list of jobs where exceptions are made due to shortages and toughen rules on whether workers can bring their families.
“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,” Cleverly told MPs.
“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 said.
The measures could lead to new disputes with business owners who have struggled to hire workers in recent years given Britain's persistently tight labour market and the end of free movement from the EU after Britain’s departure from the bloc.
Annual net migration to the UK hit a record of 745,000 last year and has stayed at high levels since, data showed last month.
The change starts in the spring of 2024, Cleverly said.
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