Home Secretary's Initiative: Cutting Net Migration | Legend Solicitors
Home Secretary’s Initiative: Cutting Net Migration

James Cleverly’s ambitious policies, aimed at achieving the “biggest ever reduction in net migration,” have sparked a considerable backlash, especially in sectors already grappling with staff shortages. The UK government has unveiled a comprehensive five-point plan aimed at achieving the most significant reduction in net migration to date and addressing concerns related to the abuse of the immigration system. These policies carry far-reaching implications that have raised concerns across the economy.

This announcement comes on the heels of official figures released, revealing that net migration reached a record high of 745,000 in 2022. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing mounting pressure to respond decisively, with the goal of curtailing net migration and restoring the reputation of the Conservative party as the nation prepares for the next general election, expected in 2024.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “It is clear that net migration remains far too high. By leaving the European Union we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain.

My plan will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration and will mean around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would not have been able to do so. I am taking decisive action to halt the drastic rise in our work visa routes and crack down on those who seek to take advantage of our hospitality.”

In the coming spring, a wave of 5 transformative changes is expected to reshape the policies and regulations were:-

  • Empowering overseas care workers with resilience in the face of tougher regulations

The UK government is making the rules stricter for care workers from other countries. This is because there are worries about some care workers not following the rules, being treated badly, and facing abuse in the adult social care sector. Even though they introduced the Health and Care Worker visa to deal with not having enough workers, the government now sees it as a temporary solution. In the year until September 2023, they gave out 101,000 Health and Care visas and about 120,000 visas for the family members of these workers. To tackle these problems, the government will stop care workers from bringing their family members to the UK. Also, care providers in England must be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) if they want to hire care workers from other countries.

  • Unleashing Opportunities for Skilled Workers

Starting next spring, the minimum salary requirement for Skilled Workers is going up by almost 50%, from £26,200 to £38,700. The government wants companies to rely less on foreign workers and hopes this change will push them to invest more in local talent. However, there are exceptions – people coming with a Health and Care Worker visa and those on national pay scales (like teachers) won’t be affected by this salary increase.

  • Farewell to the 20% Salary Cut for Shortage Occupations

To stop cheap labor from other countries, the government will get rid of the 20% salary discount for jobs in high demand. They will also replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List that keeps a general discount. The Migration Advisory Committee will check the new list against the higher salary requirements to decrease the number of jobs on the list.

  • Family Visas Face Higher Income Requirement

The government is increasing the minimum income requirement for British citizens and residents in the UK who want their family to join them. Specifically, for spouse visas, the minimum income needed will more than double, rising from £18,600 to £38,700.

Dr. Madeleine Sumption, who leads the Migration Observatory, highlighted that even though family migration is a small part of the overall picture, these changes could have a significant impact on certain individuals. Those likely to be affected the most are British citizens with lower incomes, particularly women, young people, and those living in areas where earnings are typically lower.

  • MAC’s Scrutiny: Reviewing the Graduate Visa Route

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will not only review the Shortage Occupation List but will also assess the Graduate visa route. This is to make sure it benefits the UK and to take measures that stop any misuse of the system.


In summary, the government’s plan signals a strong commitment to addressing immigration challenges, marking a significant step toward shaping impactful policies. As the details of each point in the plan unfold, there is keen anticipation to see how these measures will be implemented and their effects on the broader political and social landscape in the lead-up to the upcoming election. One notable change involved in this policy is that the individuals arriving in the UK to work in the critically understaffed care sector through health and care visas, they will no longer have the option to bring dependents with them. As per the record of previous years the number of health and care visas doubled. This increase led to large influx of dependents to the UK. It’s important to note that these alterations do not affect the National Health Service (NHS). This policy has sparked debates on finding a balance between immigration concerns and the need for essential workers. A close monitoring is essential to understand their effects on the workforce and crucial services like healthcare and social care. The anticipation is high to see how these measures will play out in the political and social landscape, especially leading up to the upcoming election.

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