UK unveils plan to cut immigration by 300,000 a year

Along with plans to cut the influx of migrants, the UK is raising the prices of public services for new entrants, to ensure these services are not burdened.

The UK government has announced a plan to “curb abuse of the immigration system” by making it difficult for British businesses to hire overseas talent. The earning threshold for overseas workers will be increased from £26,200 (US $33,024 approx) to £38,700 ($48,781 approx), by nearly 50 per cent, to encourage British businesses to hire locally.

Home Secretary, James Cleverly’s office announced the plan days after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released a report of the official immigration statistics for the year ending in September 2023. The report revealed that Indian skilled workers, medical professionals, and students were the biggest grabbers of the UK visa, and the highest dependants in the country were Indian nationals. The ONS estimated 120,000 visas granted to dependants, overall, “majority of whom we estimate don’t work, but still make use of public services,” the Home Secretary’s office said.

The new plan was designed to end the high number of dependants coming to UK, and increase the minimum salaries earned by overseas workers as well as British nationals or naturalized citizens sponsoring family members. It will help the government to cut down employer dependence on the migration system, and the increase in minimum income for British nationals or naturalized citizens who want their families to join them in the country is being done to ensure that they can support themselves, as well as contribute to the economy, and not just burden the state.

However, Cleverly’s office clarified those entering UK on the Health and Care visa route will be exempted from the increase to the salary threshold for skilled workers visas to ensure the National Health Service (NHS) and the care sector does not face shortages.

“It is clear that net migration remains far too high. By leaving the European Union we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain,” Cleverly said in a statement.

He added, “My plan will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration and will mean around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would not have been able to do so. I am taking decisive action to halt the drastic rise in our work visa routes and crack down on those who seek to take advantage of our hospitality.”

The plan will be implemented in March 2024. In addition to measures to reduce the influx of migrants, the country plans to make sure that the ones who secure entry in the UK make a fair financial contribution to avoid abuse of public services. In line with the plan, the annual Immigration Health Surcharge will be increased from £624 (US $786) to £1,035 (US $1,303).