LONDON - The British government has unveiled a set of measures aimed at reducing net migration to the United Kingdom, apparently making it tougher for foreigners to migrate to the country.
Interior Minister James Cleverly highlighted plans on Monday to raise the minimum salary threshold for skilled foreign workers to £38,700 ($48,800) from the current £26,200 ($33,000). Additionally, reforms will be made to the list of occupations with exceptions due to labor shortages, and regulations regarding workers bringing their families will be tightened.
"Migration to this country is far too high and needs to come down, and today we are taking more robust action than any other government before," Cleverly told lawmakers.
Though the premier Rishi Sunak is under pressure from different quarters to reduce migration, such is not the case with the business community which has opposed strict measures for migration due to their own needs. Last year saw a record net migration of 745,000, maintaining consistently high levels and putting Sunak under scrutiny from his Conservative Party for his handling of the situation ahead of the election.
Regarding the timeline of implementation of these measures, Cleverly said this package of measures will take place from next spring.
“This package plus our reduction in student dependents will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year,” Cleverly said.
As part of the reforms, it has been announced that Health and social care visas will be exempt from the new higher threshold to meet NHS staffing needs.
The government has also clarified that the care workers will no longer be allowed to bring their dependants to the country. Moreover, the the salary level for a family visa - separate to work and student visas - is also being increased to £38,700.
Although the United Kingdom is the preferred choice of many foreigners from less privileged backgrounds, the country has also opened visa schemes for people in Ukraine and former colony Hong Kong in recent years.
The measures might not be welcomed by businesses as companies in sectors such as engineering, construction and catering have called on the government to permit them to hire foreign workers to bridge the gap between labor demand and available labor.
Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar in the open market on February 27, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.4 for buying and 282.3 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 76.7.
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