FOREIGN workers will need to earn at least £38,700 to come to Britain under “the biggest ever reduction in net migration”.
Home Secretary James Cleverly also announced a ban on care workers bringing family to the UK, and will stop bosses hiring from overseas at a cheaper rate.
Claiming the measures would have denied 300,000 people entry last year, he told MPs: “Enough is enough. Immigration policy must be fair, legal, and sustainable.”
He today unveiled the five-point package to drastically grip net migration which last year hit a record 745,000.
As part of the blitz, the shortage occupation list that allows bosses to hire overseas workers for 20 per cent less than the going rate will be scrapped.
The salary threshold for foreign workers will be hiked from £26,200 to £38,700 in a win for right-wing Tory MPs who have been pushing for the rise.
Although people coming to work in health and social care will be exempt from the requirement.
People already in Britain wanting to bring loved-ones on a family visa will also need to earn £38,000.
Mr Cleverly also announced a huge tightening of care worker rules, preventing them from bringing dependents altogether.
He said: “Approximately 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023.”
5-POINT PLAN TO SLASH MIGRATION
JAMES Cleverly today unveiled a five-point plan to slash net migration.
- CARE CRACKDOWN: A ban foreign care workers from bringing dependents. Care workers hiring from abroad must also be registered with the regulator.
- SALARY HIKE: Skilled workers must earn at least £37,800 to get a work visa, up from £26,200.
- NO CHEAP LABOUR: The shortage occupation list that lets bosses hire for 20% less the going rate will be scrapped. It will be replaced by a new, slimmed-down list.
- FAMILY VALUES: People coming on a family visa must have a sponsor earning £38,700, up from £18,600.
- GRAD REVIEW: A review of the graduate route will be launched. It follows curbs stopping students except postgraduate research students from bringing dependents.
He told concerned MPs that he did not forecast the crackdown to cause staffing problems for the NHS.
The Home Secretary said in the long-run unemployed Brits should fill the vacancies, stressing they should “get off benefits and move back into work”.
The health immigration surcharge will also be raised by 66 per cent from £624 to £1,035.
There will also be a review of the graduate route that allows students to stay for two years after leaving university.
Mr Cleverly said: “The British people always want to do right by those in need.
“But they also – and are absolutely right to – want to reduce overall immigration numbers.
“Not only by stopping the boats and shutting down illegal routes, but through a reduction in legal immigration.
“People are understandably worried about housing, getting GP appointments, school places, and access to other public services when they can feel their communities growing.”
The PM’s spokesman added: “This is the biggest clampdown on legal migration ever. It doesn’t prevent us going further should we choose to do so in the future.”
GET A GRIP
Embattled Mr Cleverly has been under enormous pressure to get tough after figures showed 745,000 came to Britain last year.
Tory MPs – who have been openly criticising their leader over soaring arrivals – welcomed today’s crackdown.
Even axed Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “I welcome the measures announced today to cut net migration.
“They are a step in the right direction. But we need to be honest. This package is too late and the government can go further.”
But backbencher Tom Hunt said there is “great cynicism” among voters at ministers’ genuine desire to cut migration and warned he must deliver.
The 2019 Tory manifesto pledged to wrestle net arrivals below 250,000, while former PM David Cameron previously promised to get it below 100,000.
Last month the ONS put the latest estimates for the 12 months to June 2023 at 672,000, representing a slight dip on the 745,000 figure.
A total 1.18million came to the UK during that period – mainly legally but also illegally – while 508,000 left.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Today’s statement is an admission of years of total failure by this Conservative Government.
“Failure on the immigration system and failure on the economy – it is another example of the total chaos at the heart of this Government.”
The recent surge was driven by non-EU migrants with 253,000 arrivals from India the largest group.
Students accounted for 39 per cent of all non-EU arrivals, with those on work-related visas making 33 per cent.
The PM’s package to grip legal migration comes ahead of a fresh deal with Rwanda to tackle illegal arrivals.
It says it is value for money in the long run as it would “pale in comparison” with the £8million daily cost to house small boat arrivals in hotels.