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UK Government Announces Major Changes to Immigration Policy: A Comprehensive Overview

The UK government, led by Home Secretary James Cleverly, has unveiled a comprehensive plan aiming to significantly reduce net migration and address various concerns related to the immigration system. This bold strategy is set to bring about the most considerable reduction in net migration ever witnessed in the UK, with an estimated 300,000 fewer people eligible to enter the country under the new regulations compared to last year.

5 Points immigration plan announces | Alstern Solicitors

Key Measures and Their Impact

Restricting Dependents' Entry: A major aspect of the new policy is curbing the influx of dependants. The Health and Care Worker visa will undergo changes, limiting overseas care workers from bringing their dependents to the UK.
Raising Income Thresholds: The government plans to increase the minimum salary for overseas workers from £26,200 to £38,700. This nearly 50% hike aims to encourage businesses to prioritize local talent and invest in their workforce. Similarly, the income requirement for UK citizens or settled residents wishing to bring family members to the UK will also rise.
Revising the Shortage Occupation List: The current 20% salary discount for shortage occupations will be removed. Instead, a new Immigration Salary List will be introduced, retaining a general threshold discount but with revised salary thresholds to reduce the number of occupations on the list.
Reviewing Graduate Visa Routes: The Migration Advisory Committee will assess the Graduate visa route to ensure it aligns with the UK's best interests and to prevent misuse.
Student Visa Changes: The government is set to implement previously announced measures that will restrict the number of dependants for students and limit their ability to switch to work visas before completing their studies.

Building on Existing Efforts

These measures build on the government's ongoing efforts to grow the domestic workforce through initiatives like the Back to Work Plan, part of the Autumn Statement. This plan, complemented by the £7 billion employment package from the Spring Budget, aims to assist up to 1.1 million people in finding and maintaining employment.

Home Secretary's Statement

Home Secretary Cleverly emphasized the need for these measures, stating, "Net migration remains far too high... My plan will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration..." He highlighted the commitment to reducing work visa route abuses and ensuring public services, particularly the NHS, are not overburdened.

Financial Contributions from Migrants

Another significant change is the increase in the annual Immigration Health Surcharge from £624 to £1,035. This rise ensures that migrants contribute fairly to public services, especially healthcare.

Focus on Skilled Worker and Health and Care Worker Visas

A notable point is that Skilled Worker and Health and Care Worker visas account for a significant portion of work grants, with a rising trend of visas granted to dependants. The new policy aims to refine these figures, addressing concerns about compliance and exploitation in sectors like adult social care.

These sweeping changes mark a pivotal moment in the UK's approach to immigration, focusing on sustainability, protecting public services, and prioritizing the domestic workforce. While these measures are expected to substantially reduce net migration, they also raise questions about the future landscape of the UK's labor market and its impact on sectors reliant on overseas talent.


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