UK tightens work visa rules by raising minimum salary for skilled workers

  • Skilled workers applying for work visa in UK must meet higher salary rule in 2024

LONDON: The UK government revealed a new salary rule for skilled workers from abroad who wish to obtain a work visa. According to interior minister James Cleverly, starting from 2024, these workers will have to make at least £38,700 ($48,860) per year, which is a significant increase from the current £26,200.

To reduce the number of immigrants coming to the United Kingdom, the British government has unveiled a set of policies that will make it harder for foreign workers to get a work visa. One of these policies is to increase the minimum wage that migrants must earn in a job by 33% after the UK saw a record high of net migration in 2022, which prompted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take action.

UK parliament

For over a decade, legal migration has been a major political issue in Britain, and Sunak has vowed to take more control after facing criticism from his own Conservative Party ahead of an expected election next year. Previous Conservative-led governments have failed to deliver on their promises to reduce migration – which once aimed at a net figure of below 100,000.

On Monday, Interior Minister James Cleverly announced that the government would increase the minimum salary threshold for foreign skilled workers from 26,200 pounds ($33,000) to 38,700 pounds ($48,800), revise the list of occupations where exemptions are granted due to shortages, and tighten the rules on family reunification.

He told lawmakers: “We are taking stronger action than any other government before to bring down migration to this country, which is far too high.”

He added: “These measures will come into effect from next spring.”

The measures could spark new conflicts with business owners who have faced difficulties in recruiting workers in recent years, as Britain’s labour market has been very tight and the free movement from the European Union has ended after Britain’s exit from the bloc.

Last month, data showed that annual net migration to the UK reached a record of 745,000 last year and remained at high levels since then.