In a move set to reshape the UK immigration landscape, James Cleverly’s dramatic 5-point plan is poised to come into effect next spring. Aimed at addressing key issues and ensuring the sustainability of the Health and Care sector, this plan introduces strategic changes to visa regulations, salary thresholds, and family income requirements.
Let’s dive into the details of Cleverly’s visionary plan that promises to elevate the standards of the UK’s healthcare system.
1. Addressing Concerns with the Health and Care Visa numbers and abuse
One of the fundamental pillars of Cleverly’s plan is to curb the abuse of the Health and Care visa and reduce numbers. Starting next spring, overseas care workers will no longer be allowed to bring dependants with them.
Additionally, the plan mandates that all licensed sponsors must be Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated, ensuring a stringent regulatory framework that upholds the highest standards in healthcare provision.
2. Salary Threshold Adjustment
As a nod to perceived concerns about undercutting local wages, Cleverly’s plan proposes a significant increase in the salary threshold. The current threshold of £26,200 will be raised to £38,700 per annum.
Notably, health and care workers are exempt from this increase, a crucial acknowledgment of the dedication and importance of these professionals in the nation’s well-being.
3. Overhauling the Shortage Occupation Discount
The plan targets the 20% salary discount on shortage occupation roles, calling for a comprehensive review of the shortage occupation list by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The objective is to streamline the list, addressing genuine shortages while eliminating unnecessary discounts.
4. Increasing Family Visa Financial Requirement
Cleverly’s plan addresses family visa income thresholds, aligning them with the skilled worker visa requirements. The minimum income for family visas will be raised from £18,600 to £38,700 per annum.
5. Graduate Route Review
Cleverly’s plan includes a ‘review’ of the Graduate route with the aim of tackling ‘abuse’. This point seems particularly vague with the specifics yet to be unveiled, it is unclear to many as to why the graduate route has been targeted for a clean up.
James Cleverly’s 5-point plan is a direct reaction to the record immigration figures released by the ONS in November. These changes will anger UK business but potentially satiate those who are concerned about local wages being undercut and the sheer number of visas granted.
There have been concerns voiced about the misuse of the health and care visa but it is unclear how the CQC requirement will address this issue. The increase in the financial requirement affecting the family route is potentially the most controversial change and will infuriate many family rights campaigners.