UK’s Latest Immigration Regulations a Source of Worry for Indian Students and Workers?

In the UK, the Conservative Party has unveiled measures to significantly curtail the influx of overseas migrants for work, sparking concerns, particularly among Indian students and workers. The introduced changes involve a one-third increase in the salary threshold for work visas and the exclusion of migrant care workers’ partners and children. The move follows the release of net migration figures showing a surplus of 745,000 people entering the UK in 2023, triggering a series of measures to regain control over borders.

The surge in net migration is attributed to various factors, including one-off events such as Ukrainians fleeing Russian aggression and Hong Kong residents with British Nationals Overseas status. However, the main contributors have been overseas students and workers, notably in the health and care sectors. Despite the UK’s need for migrants to support economic growth and the National Health Service (NHS), these workers often receive lower wages, raising concerns about wage suppression.

To address this, the UK government is raising the salary threshold for overseas workers from £26,200 to £38,700, potentially limiting visas for Indian skilled workers. This move could price many workers out of jobs that traditionally offer lower wages, impacting sectors like hospitality. The announcement also includes the removal and reformulation of the shortage occupation list (SOL), affecting professions with acute personnel shortages. Although care workers remain on the SOL, changes stipulate that care worker visa applicants can no longer bring their dependents.

Last year saw 253,000 Indian nationals migrating to the UK, with Indians topping skilled worker and health and care visa categories. The implications of these immigration policy changes extend beyond British borders, raising concerns among various stakeholders.

Source: Financial Express