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UK Announces ‘Radical Action’ to Slash Migration by Hiking Salary Requirements

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UK Announces ‘Radical Action’ to Slash Migration by Hiking Salary Requirements
London (UK): UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to slash the number of migrants arriving legally on Monday by raising the minimum salary they must earn in a skilled job by a third as he faces pressure from his party to tackle record net migration figures.

The Sunak government is raising the minimum salary threshold for foreign skilled workers to 38,700 pounds from the current level of 26,200 pounds. Health and social workers are exempt from this measure.

“Immigration is too high. Today we’re taking radical action to bring it down,” Sunak said. The UK PM is also trying to deport migrants who illegally arrive in the UK to Rwanda. We’ve just announced the biggest ever cut in net migration. No Prime Minister has done this before in history.

“We’ve just announced the biggest ever cut in net migration. No Prime Minister has done this before in history. But the level of net migration is too high and it has to change. I am determined to do it,” Sunak further added.

The step taken by Rishi Sunak came after his own party criticised his record ahead of an election expected next year as the Labour Party ranks ahead in opinion polls. The trade unions and businesses have slammed the move and said these measures are counterproductive and challenge the private sector as well as the state-run health service, as both face labour shortages.

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However, annual net migration to the UK hit a record of 745,000 in 2022 and has stayed at high levels since. Most migrants to the UK come from India, Nigeria and China instead of the European Union (EU).

The Sunak government also introduced other measures to stop foreign health workers bringing in family members on their visas, increasing a surcharge migrants have to pay to use the health service by 66%, and raising the minimum income for family visas.

Newly appointed home minister James Cleverly said the new measures could reduce that number by 300,000.

“We will stop immigration undercutting the salary of British workers. We will create a new immigration salary list with a reduced number of occupations,” Cleverly said.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said the changes will “shrink the talent pool that the entire economy will be recruiting from”. “We urgently need to see an immigration system that is fit-for-purpose and reflects both the needs of business and the labour market. The system at the moment does none of that,” Kate Nicholls was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.

Christina McAnea, the general secretary of UNISON, the main union in the health sector, reflecting on the tight labour market said the move was a “total disaster” for the health service. “Migrants will now head to more welcoming countries, rather than be forced to live without their families,” she said.

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