29 February 2012

Home Secretary to announce further UK immigration changes

Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to announce further changes to the UK immigration system in a speech to MPs today. Mrs May is expected to announce restrictions on foreign nationals remaining in the UK and, for the first time ever, the link between migration and settlement will be severed.

UK visa

Mrs May is expected to announce the changes to fellow MPs today.

The Home Secretary is anticipated to inform MPs that UK immigration authorities will revoke a migrant's right to live and work in the UK after five years if they are earning less than £35,000 a year as part of the Government's attempt to cut net migration to the 'tens of thousands' by the end of the current parliament.

The changes are expected to include new rules which remove the rights of international nannies, chefs and other domestic occupations after five years, although exceptions for highly qualified but lower earnings threshold occupations such as PHD research will also be included.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) estimates that the move could cut as many as 20,000 skilled workers from the current level of 60,000.

The Conservatives made cutting net migration from current levels of around 250,000 a key pledge in their election manifesto and promised to achieve this feat upon taking parliament.

However, most recent figures show the Government are far beyond they expected rate and, as a result, have taken further steps to tighten controls on immigration policy.

In recent weeks Mrs May has split the UK Border Agency into two distinct branches in order to better police procedures while Immigration Minister Damian Green has introduced further restrictions on UK visa policy for international students.

Each move has attracted criticism from both opposition and government politicians and this latest announcement is proving no exception. While the Government believes introducing this measure will ensure that only the 'brightest and best' remain in Britain, critics claim it only favours the wealthy.

"Ministers accept that our economy needs skilled migrants to come and work at levels below £35,000 a year but have decided that even if they work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules, they will be forced to go home after five years," said Matt Cavanagh, Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank.

"This makes no sense in economic terms, will cause big problems for employers and is unfair on individual migrants."


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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