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UK tightens immigration noose, increases minimum income requirement for family visa

As part of government’s plan to cut immigration, the UK on Thursday increased the income required to sponsor someone coming to the country on a family visa.

 

Th UK home office via its official X (formerly Twitter) handle announced on Thursday.

“We’re delivering the biggest-ever cut in legal migration and an immigration system that works for the British people.

“We have increased the family visa minimum income requirement,” the statement read.

From Thursday, the minimum income requirement needed to bring a family member to the UK will go up to £29,000 ($36,800) from £18,600, rising to £38,700 early next year.

The move forms part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to “cut unsustainable and unfair levels of migration and ensure those arriving here do not burden the taxpayer”.

Immigration, at record levels in recent years, is likely to be a key issue in a general election due later in 2024, with polling showing that Sunak’s Conservatives are due for a heavy defeat.

“We have reached a tipping point with mass migration. There is no simple solution or easy decision which cuts numbers to levels acceptable to the British people.

“We’ve acted to cut unsustainable numbers, to protect British workers and their wages, to ensure those bringing family to the UK do not burden taxpayers,” Interior Minister James Cleverly said.

The income requirement is designed to ensure families are self-sufficient and can be met in a number of ways, including through savings and income from employment.

The government unveiled a raft of measures in December aimed at cracking down on the record migration levels, including a 47-percent hike in the minimum salary for skilled work visas.

The government intends to ultimately synchronise the threshold for family visas with that of skilled work visas.

Tightened regulations for students and a 66-percent increase in the health surcharge for foreigners using the National Health Service (NHS) were also part of the broader immigration strategy.

Cleverly said at the time that the overall plan was to reduce annual net migration to the UK, currently running at 745,000, by 300,000.

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