The UK’s plan to cut net migration poses significant implications for employers and employees alike.
Dec 05, 2023
The UK Home Secretary James Cleverly recently announced on 4th December a comprehensive plan aimed to reduce net migration into the United Kingdom significantly. This has caused a lot of panic and questions for existing foreign workers and current sponsor license holders in the UK.
It is important to note that the most significant area being impacted is the Health and Care Visa, which is a subsect of the skilled worker visa.
Here are the critical aspects of this plan:
Overall Reduction in Net Migration
The measures are intended to deliver the biggest-ever reduction in net migration in the UK’s history. It is estimated that these changes will prevent around 300,000 people who would have been able to come to the UK last year from doing so.
Changes to the Health and Care Visa
The UK government plans to tighten the Health and Care visa. This includes preventing overseas care workers from bringing their dependants to the UK and limiting care providers in England to sponsoring migrant workers only if they are undertaking activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Increase in Minimum Salary Threshold
The minimum salary required for foreign workers will be increased by nearly 50%, from £26,200 to £38,700. This is intended to encourage businesses to prioritise British talent and reduce reliance on migrant workers. Additionally, the minimum income required for British citizens and those settled in the UK who want their family members to join them will also be increased.
Ending Salary Discounts for Shortage Occupations
The government will end the 20% going rate salary discount for shortage occupations and replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List, which will maintain a general threshold discount.
Review of the Graduate Visa Route
The Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa route to ensure it aligns with the UK’s interests and to prevent abuse. This is part of a broader initiative and measures to cut the rise in students bringing dependants to the UK.
Back to Work Plan
The government’s Back to Work Plan announced as part of the Autumn Statement by Mr Cleverly, is a package of employment-focused support aimed at helping people with long-term health conditions, disabilities, or long-term unemployment find and retain employment. This plan is a key component enabling the reduction in net migration.
Financial Contribution by Migrants
The annual Immigration Health Surcharge will be increased from £624 to £1,035 to ensure migrants make a fair financial contribution to public services, including the NHS.
Addressing Labour Shortages and Non-Compliance Issues
The inclusion of care workers in the UK’s immigration system was initially a temporary measure to address labour shortages in the adult social care sector following the coronavirus pandemic. The new measures aim to protect the NHS and social care homes simply while addressing concerns like non-compliance, exploitation, and abuse within the adult social care sector.
The Home Office has not yet released complete details regarding its plan to reduce net migration. Therefore, it is advisable to remain attentive and continue monitoring the situation for any new announcements or updates. Stay informed about the latest developments as they become available with Centuro Global.