• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

UK new visa rules coming in weeks as Nigerian immigrants fret

UK new visa rules coming in weeks as Nigerian immigrants fret

New minimum wage thresholds for foreign worker visas will come into force “within weeks” in the UK and it could affect Nigerians in many ways.

According to a statement by the UK Home Secretary the Government which in December said that there would be a wave of new restrictions on people coming to Britain, and their family members, the limits are intended to bring down legal immigration.

These included significantly hiking the minimum wage needed to obtain a visa.

On Tuesday, the Home Office announced:

Reforms to restrict care workers from bringing family members to the UK will come into force on March 11. Measures requiring care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission if they are sponsoring migrants will start on the same date. An increase to the minimum salary required for those arriving on a Skilled Worker Visa, from £26,200 to £38,700, will start from April 4. The minimum income threshold for those bringing dependents to the UK on family visas will increase in stages starting on April 11. From this date workers will need to be earning at least £29,000-a-year to bring a family member from abroad – up from £18,600

No date for when the threshold will rise beyond £29,000 has been announced by Government.

The proposals sparked backlash when they were first announced by Home Secretary James Cleverly last year.

It was argued that many British people working in professional jobs, such as teachers, police officers and junior doctors, would be unable to bring a loved one to live with them from abroad under the salary restrictions.

Immigrants and families already living in the UK and earning under the threshold were left in limbo, not knowing whether they would be allowed to stay when they renewed their visa.

Read also: All you need to know about the US Agricultural Work Visa 2024

The Home Office confirmed that applications already submitted would be assessed under the old rules.

Mr Cleverly said: “I’ve been clear that migration is too high and we must get back to sustainable levels.

“Last year I set out robust measures to reduce the numbers coming into our country – tightening the rules on care workers, skilled workers, and making sure that people can support their family members that they bring over.

“It is a firm approach, but a fair one, and gives those affected time to prepare whilst ensuring that migration comes down.

“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.”

It comes as new figures suggested the UK population could reach nearly 74 million by 2036, up from the latest estimate of 67 million.

Read also: 4 visa-free countries to visit under 1M

Net migration is projected to add around six million people.

There could be an additional one million people in the UK aged 85 and over during the next 15 years.

The data has been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and assumes a level of long-term net international migration of 315,000 a year from mid-2028 onwards.

All the figures are projections, not predictions, because they are based on current and past trends.

The actual levels of future migration and population may be higher or lower, and will be “affected by policy changes as well as the impact of as yet unknown migrant behaviour patterns”, the ONS said.