UK Home Office Retreats, Instead, the earnings barrier for bringing foreign family members to Britain will gradually increase to ‘provide certainty’. Border Force personnel inspect the passports of travelers arriving at Gatwick Airport in London, England.
UK Home Office Retreats On £38,000 Family Visa Salary Threshold
The UK government has backtracked on plans to raise the minimum wage for Britons to bring overseas family members to the UK to £38,700 ($49,075).
Ministers have now announced that the threshold will be raised to £29,000 in the spring.
Previously, a person seeking to bring loved ones to the UK had to earn £18,600, but as part of a package of steps to discourage legal migration, Home Secretary James Cleverly boosted this to £38,700.
However, the idea drew criticism because it threatened to split families apart, with many people’s futures jeopardized as the administration reviewed the policy’s details.
Lord Andrew Sharpe, a Home Office minister, revealed the change of plans in response to a written parliamentary question on Thursday.
Mr Sharpe stated that the present barrier of £18,600 permits 75% of the UK working population to bring in foreign family members to live in the nation.
He claimed that raising the bar to £38,700 would restrict the same access to 30% of the working population.
Mr Sharpe stated that the barrier would be raised to £29,000 in the spring of 2024, then to £34,500, then to £38,700. The minister stated that gradually raising the threshold would provide “predictability.”
However, he did not provide a timeframe for when the threshold will be raised over £29,000, nor did one appear in Home Office papers describing the plans published on Thursday.
Non-UK Citizens Residing in England and Wales
The Prime Minister earlier stated to MPs that the government was considering “transitional arrangements” for modifications to the criteria to ensure fairness.
The Home Office said in an information sheet outlining its plans that modifications to the family visa scheme would only apply to new applicants.
Anyone awarded a fiancee visa before the minimum income level is changed will be judged against the £18,600 criterion rather than the higher criteria when applying for a family visa.
According to Mr Cleverly, the ideas would still lower net legal migration by 300,000 individuals every year.
On Friday, Home Office minister Tom Pursglove is due to write to MPs to clarify the government’s plans.
The Liberal Democrats claimed that the proposed £38,700 threshold was “unworkable” from the start.
“This was yet another half-baked idea to appease the hardliners on their back benches,” said Alistair Carmichael, the party’s home affairs spokesman.
“James Cleverly needs to stop digging and put down the spade.” Such decisions should be made collaboratively by professionals and policymakers.
“He should also publish the advice from the Treasury and OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) about the impact that his package of changes will have on the economy.”
Yvette Cooper, the Labour Party’s shadow home secretary, called the shift “further evidence of Tory government chaos on immigration and the economy.”
“On their watch, net migration has trebled as skills shortages have got worse and worse – and they still have no proper plan to link the immigration system to training or workforce planning,” she said.
“They failed to consult anyone on their new proposals and took no account of the impact of steep spousal visa changes on families next year, so it’s no surprise they are now rowing back in a rush.”