• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

UK visa reforms announced to cut migration

ByEmma Gibson

Jan 15, 2024
Blue "Passport Control" sign

On 4 December 2023, a set of new visa requirements were announced, on course to be implemented by spring 2025, to progress the government’s plan and manifesto promise to reduce net migration in the UK.

Changes to obtaining a family visa include how British citizens, or people already settled in the UK will need to show they earn £38,700 before their overseas partner can live here with them, which is significantly higher than the current earning threshold of £18,600.

The minimum salary required for skilled overseas workers to obtain a work visa will increase from £26,200 to £38,700.

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These changes will have implications for staff at the University of Edinburgh in a range of different positions including some researchers, receptionists, porters, cleaners, interns, and tutors, all of which earn below this earning threshold at the university.

The government claims this new £38,700 threshold brings it into line with average earnings as, according to the Office for National Statistics, median gross annual earnings for full time employees in the UK were £34,963.

Home Secretary, James Cleverly, claimed that 300,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK in the last year would not be able to in the future as net migration reached a record of 745,000 people in 2022 and is currently triple the rate of 2019.

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These changes to visa requirements have been criticised by Christina McNea, the Unison General Secretary, who claimed these plans “spell total disaster for the NHS and social care” since these sectors are short of staff and rely on workers from abroad.

Furthermore, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper stated that this was: “an admission of Tory failure on both the immigration system and the economy.”

Additional changes in immigration policy announced by the government included increasing the annual charge that foreign workers pay to use the NHS from £624 to £1,035, reviewing the graduate visa route, and banning care workers from bringing family dependants to the UK.

File:Passport control, UK Border (42031045291).jpg” by Eric Fischer is licensed under CC BY 2.0.