UK Announces Stricter Visa Measures To Cut Migration

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The British Government has announced a package of measures to cut net migration to the United Kingdom including plans to raise the minimum salary required for foreign workers to be eligible for a work visa, Home Office said on Monday.

Interior Minister James Cleverly told parliament the minimum salary a skilled foreign worker needs to earn to get a visa would be significantly increased to about 38,000 pounds ($47,899) up from its current 26,200 pounds currently and in line with the median full-time wage.

“We will stop immigration undercutting the salary of British workers,” Cleverly said.

Cleverly also said his plan would result in 300,000 fewer people coming to the UK in the coming years.

“Enough is enough,” the Home Secretary told parliament as he laid out his proposals, which will take effect early next year.

Cleverly said skilled foreign workers wanting a UK visa would have to earn £38,700 ($48,860), up from £26,200 and in line with the median full-time wage.

He exempted health and social care workers, but said they would be prevented from bringing family dependents.

NHS Providers, which represents hospital groups in England, said changes that might deter care workers from coming to the UK were “deeply concerning”.

Care England, a charity representing independent adult social care providers, said immigration had been “saving the social care sector”. Staff shortages have been exacerbated by Brexit.

Cleverly also raised the minimum income for family visas to £38,700 and confirmed restrictions on international students bringing dependents.

He reaffirmed that Britain would increase the surcharge that migrants pay to access the NHS by 66 percent, to £1,035.

Critics have said this effectively imposes a double charge on migrant workers, as employees also pay National Insurance charges, which go towards covering healthcare.

In a tweet, the UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “Immigration is too high. Today we’re taking radical action to bring it down.”

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.

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