UK raises salary threshold for foreign workers visas to cut immigration

Interior minister announces that the minimum salary for a skilled foreign worker to get a visa will be 38,000 pounds

By Reuters

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Published: Mon 4 Dec 2023, 9:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 4 Dec 2023, 9:32 PM

The British government on Monday 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.

High levels of legal migration have for more than a decade dominated Britain's political landscape and Sunak has promised to gain more control after lawmakers in his Conservative Party criticised his record ahead of an election expected next year.

Interior minister James Cleverly said the government would raise the minimum salary threshold for foreign skilled workers to 38,700 pounds ($48,900), from its current level of 26,200 pounds, reform the list of jobs where exceptions are made due to shortages, and toughen rules on whether workers can bring their families.

"Migration to this country is far too high and needs to come down, and today we are taking more robust action than any other government before," Cleverly told lawmakers.

"This package of measures will take place from next spring."

The measures could lead to new disputes with business owners who have struggled to hire workers in recent years given Britain's persistently tight labour market and the end of free movement from the European Union following Britain's departure from the bloc.

Annual net migration to the United Kingdom hit a record of 745,000 last year and has stayed at high levels since, data showed last month.

"This package plus our reduction in student dependents will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year," Cleverly said.

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