In addition to the 66% increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge, the Home Secretary has made a statement to the House of Commons about the government’s plans to reduce net migration. Apparently, they aim to meet this requirement by separating families of Health and Care Workers and not allowing British Citizens to bring their spouses or partners to the UK unless they are earning over £38,700 per annum. This is higher than the average salary in all parts of the UK. This is due to come into force in Spring 2024. Following are the main changes which will come into effect:
- People on health and care visas will no longer be able to bring family dependants and care firms must be regulated by the Care Quality Commission in order to sponsor workers.
- The skilled worker salary threshold will be increased by a third to £38,700, the care sector will be exempt.
- Ending the 20% salary discount for roles on the Shortage Occupation List and reforming the list. The Migration Advisory Committee have been asked to review the occupations on the list in light of the new higher skilled worker salary threshold. A new immigration salary list (Appendix Immigration Salary List?) with a reduced number of occupations will be published in coordination with the MAC.
- The minimum income requirement for family visas for British citizens and those settled here will also be raised to £38,700. This is a £20,100 increase in the current salary requirement. This is actually above the average salary for the UK.
- The Home Secretary has asked the MAC to review the graduate route to “prevent abuse and to protect the integrity and quality” of the higher education sector.
The government expects these changes to result in a 300,000 drop in net migration.
This is an insult to all Health and Care workers and in particular to all British Nationals who want to bring their families to the UK. Apparently the UK Government would like to restrict this option to only the rich or those who earn higher than the average UK salary. This of course, has an even more adverse effect on women, whose average salary is over £5,000 less per annum than that of their male counterpart. It also impacts those who do not live in Southeast England where the average salary is higher than most of the other parts of the UK, but even there, it is lower than £38,700.
Let's hope this doesn't come into effect, as the impact for many British Nationals who may wish to return home after living overseas, will be devastating.