The latest on the government’s net migration clampdown

A UK/EU sign at the arrivals section of an airport with people queueing

On 4 December 2023, the Home Secretary James Cleverly, announced a new five-point plan to cut migration levels and curb abuse of the immigration system, after net migration hit a record 745,000 last year. The package of measures include:

  • Skilled worker visa minimum salary change: From spring 2024, the minimum salary for an application will rise from £26,200 to £38,700, although health and care workers will still benefit from a reduced salary threshold, although it is not clear what level this will be set at. Those on national pay scales will also be exempt, such as teachers.
  • Shortage occupation list overhaul: The plan is to axe the 20% discount applied to shortage occupation roles and replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List, which will retain a general threshold discount. The Migration Advisory Committee will also review the new list against the increased salary thresholds to reduce the number of occupations on the list.
  • Health and care workers banned from bringing dependants: Overseas care workers will not be able to bring family dependants, such as their husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, or children under 18 with them to the UK. In addition, care firms that want to sponsor people for visa applications will need to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
  • Graduate route review: The government will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route "to prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education".
  • Family visa increased maintenance level: The minimum threshold for a family visa will also be raised to £38,700, a huge increase from the current 20212 rate of £18,600.

Together, this package is meant to mean that around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would now not be able to come. The government is said to be prioritising growing our domestic workforce through it's Back to Work Plan, announced as part of the Autumn Statement. But are these measures too much, too quickly for the UK economy to cope? We will continue to monitor this plan and provide updates as and when available. 

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