The UK Government has unveiled a Strategy Aimed at Reducing Legal Migration
The UK government has recently unveiled a strategy aimed at reducing migration levels in response to mounting pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to address net migration figures. The plan, revealed on Monday, includes several measures such as raising the minimum salary required for skilled overseas workers and prohibiting care workers from bringing dependents to the UK. The overarching objective is to decrease legal migration by 300,000 people.
Outlined as a five-point plan, the strategy involves elevating the minimum salary for skilled overseas workers from £26,200 to £38,700 and preventing care workers from bringing their dependents to the UK. Additionally, the plan suggests discontinuing the use of a 20 percent salary discount for shortage occupations, increasing the fee for foreign workers accessing the NHS, and calling on the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate visa route.
Rishi Sunak has been under growing pressure to reduce migration numbers, particularly in the wake of the record figure of 745,000 in 2022 and setbacks related to the government's Rwanda deportation policy. The Conservative party, since its election in 2010, has consistently pledged to decrease net migration, and the Brexit "leave" campaign was centered around the idea of "taking back control" of the UK's borders. Sunak emphasized that immigration was too high and declared that he was taking "radical action to bring it down."
These changes have sparked criticism from unions, migrant rights charities, and opposition politicians. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper characterized the plan as an "admission of years of Tory failure on the economy and immigration." Meanwhile, Unison, one of the UK's largest trade unions, asserted that the "Home Secretary's announcement of new immigration plans will sacrifice migrant care workers and risk a total collapse of the UK's care system, just to appease Tory backbenchers."