The UK is set introduce a minimum earnings figure of £31,000 in order to qualify for permanent settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain, the Immigration Minister announced today.
- Further changes to family migration
- Reforms to settlement and greater selectivity
- Breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration
- Completing changes to eliminate abuse of the student visa route
- review of the annual limit on skilled economic Tier 2 migrants
- Contribution-based system rather than points-based
As expected, the UK Border Agency has confirmed earlier rumours published by Immigration Matters on reforming the route to settlement with the creation of a ‘sustainable selective immigration system that encourages the brightest and best to come to the UK’.
At a speech at the Policy Exchange, the Immigration Minister Damian Green expressed a desire to ‘raise the tone of the immigration debate’ and start building a national consensus on how immigration can be made to work for Britain.
He will be pressing on with sweeping reforms that impose restrictions on those migrants the country does not need, while developing a greater selectivity to attract those migrants the country wants.
Damian Green said:
‘We need to know not just that the right number of people are coming here, but that the right people are coming here. People that will benefit Britain – not just those who will benefit by Britain.
‘We have laid the foundations for a sustainable system where we get numbers down and keep them down. Now we shall make it work for Britain.’
The government has committed to reduce net migration numbers from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands. In the latest published quarterly figures, compared to a year previously, there are early signs of a positive impact on numbers following restrictions imposed by this government on non-EEA workers and students.
The government will soon be announcing further changes to family migration and reforms to settlement, breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration or UK naturalisation and citizenship. It will also be completing its changes to eliminate abuse of the student visa route and is currently reviewing the annual limit on skilled economic migrants.
In his speech the Minister expressed his intention that the long-term transformation of British immigration policy will introduce greater selectivity.
He added that the ‘points based system’ of the past should ultimately be replaced by a ‘contribution-based system’ where migrants are checked to ensure they will add to quality of life in the UK.
This is already starting with the development of more selective routes for entrepreneurs, investors and those with exceptional talent alongside existing routes for entertainers, trainees and researchers.
The Minister confirmed the introduction of a new route for international graduate entrepreneurs – international students who have engaged in innovative entrepreneurial activity during their studies and want to stay on afterwards to develop their business ideas.
The government will also improve the system for some short-term business visitors and entertainers to ensure world-class performers are encouraged to come to the UK. Source: UK Border Agency.
In an earlier interview with BBC Radio Kent Mr Green said he wanted ‘to be much more intelligently selective about who we let come here”.
‘Anyone individual seeking permanent settlement should be able to command a salary of between £31,000 and £49,000.’
Mr Green also told the BBC that he was proposing to set a minimum income level for any sponsor seeking to bring in a foreign spouse – and said the recommended level from MAC (Migration Advisory Committee) was between £18,600 and £25,700.
The news will come as a bitter blow to the thousands of skilled workers on Work Permits and Tier 2 Working Visas who were expecting to one day qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), although the Minister has not announced any transitional arrangements for those already here.
If applied to existing migrants, the minimum threshold would affect nurses, senior carers, chefs, care managers and many other occupations where the basic pay rate is less than £31,000.
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