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​UK Government Raises Salary Threshold for Foreign Workers Amid Immigration Control Efforts

​UK Government Raises Salary Threshold for Foreign Workers Amid Immigration Control Efforts

Posted by Emily on 4th Dec 2023

In a significant move to control immigration, the UK government has announced a steep increase in the minimum salary required for foreign workers. The salary threshold for a skilled worker visa will substantially increase from £26,200 to £38,700 next year. This change is part of a broader five-point plan outlined by Home Secretary James Cleverly to curb immigration.

chefs cooking in asian restaurant

James Cleverly emphasised that migration to the UK was "far too high," citing years of "abuse" of health and care visas. This plan arrives amidst pressure from Conservative MPs on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, especially after recent figures indicated net migration reaching a record 745,000 last year.

The new plan includes several key measures:

  • Banning health and care workers from bringing family dependants to the UK.
  • Ending the policy of allowing companies to pay workers 20% less than the standard job rate on a shortage occupation list.
  • Raising the minimum income for family visas to £38,700 from £26,200, effective from next spring.
  • Reviewing the graduate visa route to prevent abuse.

Cleverly claims these changes would reduce last year's immigration figures by more than 300,000. He insists that "Immigration policy must be fair, legal, and sustainable."


The government's stance has been met with criticism. Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper calls it "another example of the total chaos at the heart of this government," advocating for a "proper plan" for training and recruiting British workers. Unison general secretary Christina McAnea warns that these "cruel plans spell total disaster for the NHS and social care," as migrant workers are essential for these sectors.

The hospitality industry also expresses severe concerns. The Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron describes the government's decision as being met with "absolute horror" in the hospitality sector, highlighting the potential workforce crisis in areas like the Lake District. Chris Harber, head of immigration at law firm Boyes Turner, warns of significant staff shortages and possible business closures in the hospitality industry due to these changes.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, points out the critical role of international talent in the UK's hospitality sector and worries that these changes will "further shrink the talent pool" and exacerbate existing shortages.

As the UK grapples with the complexities of immigration and its impact on various sectors, these new measures mark a significant shift in the country's approach to foreign workers. The government asserts the necessity of these changes for sustainable and legal immigration, while critics raise concerns about the potential adverse effects on key sectors like health care and hospitality.

We welcome your thoughts and opinions on this matter. How do you think these changes will impact the UK's business landscape? Please share your views in the comments below.