• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

New laws to put British workers first come into force

The general salary threshold for those arriving in the UK on a skilled worker visa has now increased by 48 per cent, from £26,200 to £38,700

Picture for representation (iStock)

By: Shajil Kumar

UK businesses will now have pay more to overseas workers with skilled worker visas as the new laws to cut migration and put British workers first comes to force.

The general salary threshold for those arriving in the UK on a skilled worker visa has now increased by 48 per cent, from £26,200 to £38,700.

This increase will help ensure the UK’s immigration system focuses on recruiting high-skilled workers, helping to grow the UK economy while bringing overall numbers down.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said, “It’s time to turn off the taps and end the flow of cheap workers from abroad. Mass migration is unsustainable and it’s simply not fair. It undercuts the wages of hard-working people who are just trying to make ends meet.”

He said the government was refocusing the immigration system “to prioritise the brightest and best who have the skills our economy needs while reducing overall numbers”.

To ensure that no sector is permanently reliant on immigration, the occupation list has been abolished. Employers will no longer be able to pay migrants less than UK workers in shortage occupations.

A new immigration salary list has been created, following consultations with the Migration Advisory Committee.

Roles on the list will only be included where they are skilled and facing a shortage.

Employers will be encouraged to invest in training, upskilling, and hiring domestic workers first.

These measures come in the backdrop of the government’s effots to support British through its £2.5 billion ‘back to work’ plan.

The government intends to help up to 1,100,000 people with long-term health conditions, disabilities or long-term unemployment to look for and stay in work.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said, “I’m determined to give jobseekers the support they need to get on and get ahead through ‘back to work’ plan, while our network of Jobcentres are providing apprenticeships, bootcamps, and skills programmes to help even more people into work.

She lamented that for too long “we have relied on labour from abroad when there is great talent right here in the UK”.

According to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory about a fifth of the UK labour market — 6.2 million workers — was born overseas.

To curb the number of legal arrivals, the government has implemented many measures. In January, the government ended the ability of nearly all postgraduate students to bring dependants to the UK.

Last month, restrictions were imposed on care workers from bringing family members.

Care providers are also now required to register with the Care Quality Commission, the industry regulator, if they are sponsoring migrant care workers.

This is to prevent care workers from being provided visas under false pretences, for getting recruited for jobs that don’t exist or being paid far below the minimum wage.

The government is also working on bringing down illegal migration by curbing small boat crossings on the English Channel.

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