Plans to cut net migration levels to be introduced from March
A raft of restrictions will come into force within weeks in a bid to cut the number of people legally arriving in the UK.
The changes to immigration rules will gradually be introduced from March, the Home Office said.
Rishi Sunak previously vowed to “do what is necessary” to bring net migration down as he sought to blame the “very large numbers” on his predecessors.
The Prime Minister has been under pressure from Tory MPs to take action since revised official estimates published in November indicated the figure – the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country – reached a record 745,000 in 2022, higher than previously thought.
The next month, Home Secretary James Cleverly said a ban on overseas care workers bringing family dependants and a drastically hiked salary threshold for skilled workers to £38,700 will deliver the “biggest ever reduction”, while reforms will also make it harder for Britons earning under the national average to bring over foreign spouses.
The Government announced when the changes will be introduced on Tuesday, as the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggested the UK population could reach nearly 74 million by 2036, up from the latest estimate of 67 million, with net migration adding around six million people.
The first changes come into force on March 11, restricting foreign care workers bringing relatives with them to the UK and requiring care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission if they are sponsoring migrants.
From April 4, the minimum salary threshold for people coming to the UK on skilled worker visas will rise.
This will be followed by the hike in the minimum income requirement for family visas, which will be introduced in stages. The first increase, to £29,000, comes into effect from April 11 but is set to rise to £38,700 by early 2025, the Home Office said.
Mr Cleverly said migration is “too high”, adding: “We must get back to sustainable levels.”
The “robust measures” come as part of a “firm approach, but a fair one”, and give people “time to prepare whilst ensuring that migration comes down”, he added.
“The British people want to see action, not words. We are delivering the change we promised and which they expect, lifting pressure on public services and protecting British workers with the utmost urgency”, Mr Cleverly said.
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