• Friday, June 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

New UK immigration rules to hit Nigerians, others

James Cleverly

UK’s Home Secretary James Cleverly declared “enough is enough” as he unveiled plans he promised would deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration from countries like Nigeria after levels soared to a record high.

Cleverly said overseas care workers many of whom come from Nigeria will be barred from bringing family dependants and the salary threshold for skilled workers will be hiked to £38,700.

He said the strategy, along with earlier plans to limit the relatives of foreign students, would bring down levels by 300,000 as the Government comes under pressure from Tory MPs.

Cleverly set out the plans on Monday in the wake of official estimates saying levels had peaked at 745,000 in 2022.

The minimum income for family visas will be raised to the same threshold as the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers.

Mr Cleverly told the Commons: “Fourthly, we will ensure that people only bring dependants who they can support financially by raising the minimum income for family visas to the same threshold as the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers, which is £38,700.

“The minimum income requirement of £18,600 has not been increased since 2012. This package of measures will take place from next spring.

“Finally, having already banned overseas masters students from bringing family members to the UK, I have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route to prevent abuse, to protect the integrity and quality of the UK’s outstanding higher education sector.

“It needs to work in the best interests of the UK, supporting the pathway into high quality jobs for the global talent pool but reducing opportunities for abuse.”

The changes “spell total disaster for the NHS and social care”, the Unison union, which has health workers among its membership, warned.

Read also: FirstBank UK adopts Bloomberg’s trade system to boost data access

General secretary Christina McAnea said: “Migrant workers were encouraged to come here because both sectors are critically short of staff. Hospitals and care homes simply couldn’t function without them.

“There’s also a global shortage of healthcare staff. Migrants will now head to more-welcoming countries, rather than be forced to live without their families.

“The Government is playing roulette with essential services just to placate its backbenchers and the far right.

“But if ministers stopped ducking the difficult issues and reformed social care, as they’ve long promised, there wouldn’t be such a shortage of workers.

“None of this is rocket science. Fund care properly and raise wages, and the sector becomes a more attractive place to work, but take away the migrant workers currently stopping care from going under and it collapses.”