Government measures aimed at reducing migration are expected to worsen labour shortages, particularly in the care and hospitality sectors, according to experts.
The new policies involve raising the minimum salary required for skilled workers entering the UK from £26,200 to £38,700. Additionally, the government will prohibit care workers from bringing their family dependents to the UK. Home Secretary James Cleverly asserts that these changes will reduce migration by 300,000 people annually, following a peak of 745,000 in 2022, as reported by the Office for National Statistics.
However, Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, argues that these measures will hinder growth and unfairly disadvantage the private sector. Health and care workers, along with those on national pay scales like teachers, will be exempt from the salary threshold increase.
These changes will reduce migration by 300,000 people annually, following a peak of 745,000 in 2022, as reported by the Office for National Statistics.
Carberry emphasizes the positive impact of attracting individuals to the UK for work and study, contributing to the country’s growth and prosperity. He criticizes the government for imposing costs on businesses while exempting the public sector from the new threshold, creating a perceived double standard.
The government has also revealed plans to raise the annual charge for foreign workers accessing the NHS, increase the minimum income for family visas, and instruct the migration adviser to review the graduate visa route. The measures include ending the practice of companies paying workers 20% less than the going rate for jobs on the shortage occupation list (SOL).
Companies are now awaiting further details on the implementation of these changes. Jonathan Beech, managing director of the business immigration law firm Migrate UK, notes an anxious wait for the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to revise its recommendations for the SOL. The Home Secretary has suggested a reduction in the SOL and the removal of salary discounts. Beech expresses hope that a special salary rate for SOL roles will be introduced to support industries facing challenges due to these measures.