The Home Secretary, James Cleverly, announced some game-changing new rules in a five-point plan to reduce legal immigration, stating "Enough is enough ...Immigration policy must be fair, legal, and sustainable." The growing numbers of foreign nationals seeking to live and work in the UK is one of the biggest challenges facing the Government with net migration reaching record numbers of 745,000 in 2022.

The Home Secretary is caught between the skills shortage and the stated aim of the Government to reduce immigration to sustainable levels. The shortage occupation list includes scientists, construction workers, engineers and agricultural workers and certain sectors of the arts and many other sectors will now be impacted by the removal of the dispensation to pay workers on the shortage occupation list 80% of the standard market salaries.

The main principals of the five-point plan:

Health and care visas

Overseas care worker will no longer be permitted to bring family dependents as a way to end the abuse of the health care visa. Further to this care firms will need to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission

Skilled worker visa minimum salary charge

The minimum salary threshold is set to increase by nearly 50% from £26,200 to £38,700. However, this will not apply to health and care workers who will still be able to earn less before applying to this route.

Shortage occupation list

The government has also shown their plans to "scrap cut price shortage labour from overseas" by reforming the way people work in short-staffed sectors can apply to come to the UK. Therefore, this will include axing the 20% discount applied to the minimum salary for people looking for visas for shortage occupations. This will include the list of eligible occupation list to be reviewed and reduced.

Family Visas

The government has also announced the minimum threshold for family visas to also be raised from £18,600 to £38,700. This is in a bid to ensure that people can only bring dependants whom they can support financially.

Student Visas

Since the announcement earlier this year tightening who can bring family members on student visas earlier this year, the government will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route so that they can continue to prevent the abuse and protect the quality of UK higher education.

Kavina Munja, a lawyer in the immigration department, commented "the sweeping changes will have a significant impact on the foreignnationals. Whilst there are concessions extended to th NHS and care workers in that they do not have to comply with the new salary threshold of £38,700. The restriction on bringing family members will, without doubt, ensure far fewer health workers will consider the UK." Kavina further commented "Another substantial change is that British nationals married to foreign nationals may be impeded from bringing their spouse to the UK. It has not been confirmed as to when the five-point plan will be implemented but is it highly likely to be sooner rather than later."

Mr Cleverly has claimed that these measures as well as the previously announced measures on students, had they been in force, would have meant that 300,000 people who entered the UK last year would not have been able to. He also stated that the impact of the plan is unlikely to result in a significant reduction of health workers electing to work in the NHS and care homes. However, it is widely held that without the influx of overseas health workers the NHS would be in a difficult position.

Giambrone & Partners' immigration lawyers feel that the Government's objectives in lower the net migration may have been better served by tightening the application rules and speeding up the process, especially in respect of asylum seekers. At present foreign nationals frequently arrive without any evidence of nationality and whilst the enquiries as to the validity of their can access and enjoy many of the benefits extended to immigrants before it has been established that they have any entitlement. Giambrone & Partners expert immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience in assisting migrants through the routes to British citizenship.

Kavina Munja has considerable experience related to immigration applications and has a comprehensive range of knowledge and expertise. She has successfully dealt with complex immigration appeals in the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

Kavina can assist clients with the preparation of applications, working closely with the authorities and ensuring that there are no errors or omissions that may impact on the success of the application.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.