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Plans to cut net migration levels to be introduced from March

Plans to cut net migration levels to be introduced from March
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In an effort to reduce the number of people who are able to enter Britain legally, a variety of limitations will go into effect in the coming weeks.

According to the Home Office, the modifications to immigration laws would be implemented progressively starting in March.

Rishi Sunak previously vowed to “do what is necessary” to bring net migration down as he sought to blame the “very large numbers” on his predecessors.

The Prime Minister has been under pressure from Tory MPs to take action since revised official estimates published in November indicated the figure – the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country – reached a record 745,000 in 2022, higher than previously thought.

The following month, Home Secretary James Cleverly said a ban on overseas care workers bringing family dependants and a drastically hiked salary threshold for skilled workers to £38,700 will deliver the “biggest ever reduction”, while reforms will also make it harder for Britons earning under the national average to bring over foreign spouses.

At the time he said the measures would slash the number of people arriving in Britain by 300,000 a year.

The Government announced when the changes will be introduced on Tuesday, as the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggested the UK population could reach nearly 74 million by 2036, up from the latest estimate of 67 million, with net migration adding around six million people.

The first changes come into force on March 11, restricting foreign care workers bringing relatives with them to the UK and requiring care providers to register with the Care Quality Commission if they are sponsoring migrants.

From April 4, the minimum salary threshold for people coming to the UK on skilled worker visas will rise.

This will be followed by the hike in the minimum income requirement for family visas, which will be introduced in stages. The first increase, to £29,000, comes into effect from April 11 but is set to rise to £38,700 by early 2025, the Home Office said.

The delay in introducing the total increase has been criticised by right-wing Tory MPs in favour of tighter migration controls.

Mr Cleverly said migration is “too high”, adding: “We must get back to sustainable levels.”

The “robust measures” come as part of a “firm approach, but a fair one”, and give people “time to prepare whilst ensuring that migration comes down”, he added.

“The British people want to see action, not words. We are delivering the change we promised and which they expect, lifting pressure on public services and protecting British workers with the utmost urgency”, Mr Cleverly said.

Meanwhile, legal migration minister Tom Pursglove stressed the Government was “already acting” and insisted the measures will make a “tangible difference” to migration figures and will help the UK get to a “more sustainable place” on net migration.

He told the PA news agency the Home Office was “very confident” there will be a “meaningful reduction in net migration” as a result of changes to visa rules, and the situation would be kept under “consistent review”.

But MAC chairman Professor Brian Bell previously said raising the income threshold for family visas would not be a “major player in reducing net migration”.

The move will also see changes to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), used to identify jobs where migrant workers need to be hired to fill vacancies. It has a lower salary threshold, typically 20% less than the going rate for that job.

But from March 14, the discount will be scrapped and in early April the SOL will be abolished altogether and replaced by the new Immigration Salary List (ISL), acting on recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

The body will initially advise Government on which occupations should be temporarily added to the ISL.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Health Surcharge, which some foreign nationals in the UK on certain temporary immigration visas are required to pay to access the NHS, will rise by 66% to £1,035 from February 6.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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