UK Government Tightens Immigration Policies

British Government Unveils Stringent Immigration Measures

by Oluwatosin Alabi

The British government has announced a comprehensive plan to curtail immigration, introducing five key points aimed at reducing the number of immigrants. This plan includes restrictions on family members of care workers and a significant increase in the minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas.

Home Secretary James Cleverly, facing pressure to adopt a tough stance on immigration, unveiled this initiative amid concerns within the Conservative Party regarding the failure of the Rwanda deportation scheme and high net migration levels. Cleverly asserted that this approach is more rigorous than previous government policies. The plan targets several visa categories, including health and care visas, skilled worker visas, family visas, the shortage occupation list, and student visas.

Key points of the British government’s immigration plan are:

  • Health and Care Visas: Overseas care workers will no longer be permitted to bring family members to the UK to prevent misuse of the health and care visa. Care firms sponsoring visa applications must adhere to regulations set by the Care Quality Commission.
  • Skilled Worker Visa Minimum Salary: The minimum salary for skilled worker visas will jump by nearly 50%, from £26,200 to £38,700. However, health and care workers will face a lower threshold.
  • Shortage Occupation List: The government plans to reform the system for sectors facing staff shortages, making it more challenging to hire overseas workers at discounted rates. The list of jobs in the shortage occupation list will be reviewed and reduced.
  • Family Visas: The financial requirement for family visas will increase to £38,700, ensuring those bringing dependants can support them financially. The current threshold is £18,600.
  • Student Visas: The government will review the graduate route to prevent misuse and protect the quality of UK higher education.

Cleverly estimates that these measures would have prevented about 300,000 people from entering the UK last year. He also plans to increase the immigration health tax from £624 to £1,035. The Conservative government’s objective is to control borders through a points-based system, focusing on necessary skills and talent for economic growth and healthcare. They seek fair, consistent, legal, and sustainable immigration policies.

Labour Party’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, criticized the government’s plan, labeling it an admission of failure. Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, agrees with reducing dependants but advises a gradual approach to avoid care worker shortages. UKHospitality warns that these changes could exacerbate staff shortages in the hospitality sector.

These new measures could significantly affect Zimbabweans seeking to migrate to the UK, particularly those in the care sector fleeing Zimbabwe’s economic challenges.

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