Tougher visa rules for foreign workers announced – including ban on bringing families

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A new five-point plan to reduce immigration has been announced by the government, which includes banning care workers from bringing over their families and increasing the minimum salary for a skilled worker visa.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has come under pressure since taking office three weeks ago to show he is taking a hardline on immigration.

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Conservatives are angry about the latest thwarting of the Rwanda deportation scheme in the courts and net migration hitting 745,000 last year.

Today’s five-point plan – which is “more robust” than any previous government’s stance on migration, according to Mr Cleverly – includes measures on health and care visas, skilled worker visas, family visas, the shortage occupation list and student visas.

The measures are:

Health and care visas: Overseas care workers will not be able to bring family dependants, to end the “abuse of the health and care visa”. Care firms that want to sponsor people for visa applications will need to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission;

Skilled worker visa minimum salary change: The threshold for an application will rise to £38,700 – although health and care workers will still be able to earn less before applying for the route;

Shortage occupation list: The government wants to “scrap cut-price shortage labour from overseas” by reforming the way people working in short-staffed sectors can apply to come to the UK. This will include axing the 20% discount applied to the minimum salary for people looking for a visa for shortage occupations. The types of jobs on the list will also be reviewed and reduced;

Family visas: The minimum threshold for a family visa will also be raised to £38,700 to “ensure people only bring dependants whom they can support financially”. Currently, it stands at the 2012 rate of £18,600;

Student visas: Following the tightening of who can bring in family members on student visas earlier this year, the government will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route “to prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education”.


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Mr Cleverly claimed these measures – as well as the previously announced measures on students – would mean that 300,000 people who entered the UK last year would not have been able to.

He also re-announced plans to raise the increase of the immigration health surcharge from £624 to £1,035.

He told MPs: “When our country voted to leave the European Union, we voted to take back control of our
borders.

“Thanks to this Conservative government, we now have a points-based immigration system
through which we control who comes to the UK.

“We prioritise the skills and talent we need to grow our economy and support our NHS – and
we have a competitive visa system for globally-mobile talent.”

He added: “Immigration policy must be fair, consistent, legal, and sustainable.”

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