UK Announces 55% Hike In Income Requirement To Sponsor Family Visa

Immigration is one of the key poll issues ahead of general elections in the UK this year

New Delhi:

The United Kingdom announced on Thursday that the minimum income threshold required to sponsor a family member’s visa in the country has been increased, as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plans to cut down immigration levels. Effective immediately, the income benchmark has been increased from 18,600 pounds to 29,000 pounds – an increase of more than 55 per cent – with a subsequent increase to 38,700 pounds slated for early next year.

“Today’s change comes as the Home Secretary meets his commitment to implement his major package of reforms to the immigration system within weeks of announcing them – which came following the unveiling of measures to tighten the student visa route in May 2023,” the UK government said in a statement. 

Immigration is one of the key poll issues ahead of general elections in the UK this year, with surveys indicating that Mr Sunak’s party, the Conservatives, is heading for a heavy defeat. The new regulations are part of Mr Sunak’s plan to “cut unsustainable and unfair levels of migration, and ensure those arriving here do not burden the taxpayer”.

UK’s Interior Minister James Cleverly, explaining the rationale behind the latest policy change, said it is important to mitigate the strains posed by mass migration. “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,” he said. 

Cleverly stressed the UK government’s commitment to safeguarding British workers and wages while ensuring that those relocating to the UK do not become reliant on public funds.

The revised income requirement seeks to ensure that families seeking to reunite in the UK show self-sufficiency, with provisions allowing for various means of meeting the threshold, including savings and income from employment. 

“I promised action and we have delivered at remarkable speed. 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, and to build an immigration system fit for the future – and one the public can rightly have confidence in,” Cleverly added. 

In addition to the alterations in income thresholds, the UK government also implemented stringent regulations on student visas, alongside a substantial 66 per cent escalation in the health surcharge for foreign nationals accessing the National Health Service (NHS). 

With current immigration figures hovering at 745,000, the UK government aims to cut it down to 300,000.
 

SOURCE

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