2023-12-05 22:36:04 BdST
UK unveils tougher visa rules to cut migration
The UK government has introduced measures it promised would deliver the biggest ever cut in net migration after levels soared to a record high.
Home Secretary James Cleverly announced a five-point plan to curb immigration, which he said was "far too high".
The changes included hiking the minimum salary needed for skilled overseas workers from £26,200 to £38,700.
Cleverly claimed 300,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK last year would not be able to in future.
The minimum income for family visas has also risen to £38,700.
In a statement to MPs, the home secretary said migration to the UK "needs to come down" and there had been "abuse" of health and care visas for years.
"Enough is enough," Cleverly said. "Immigration policy must be fair, legal, and sustainable."
The migration plan comes after official figures last month showed net migration had soared to a record 745,000 in 2022.
Conservative MPs have since piled pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his government to bring down net migration, which is the difference between those entering and leaving the UK.
The sharp increase represents a huge political challenge for Sunak and the Conservatives, who have repeatedly promised to reduce net migration since winning power in 2010, and "take back control" of the UK's borders since the Brexit vote.
The party's 2019 election manifesto committed to getting the number down, without setting a specific target, while David Cameron once pledged to bring net migration below 100,000 when he was prime minister.
Immigration is shaping up to be a key issue ahead of the next general election, which is expected in 2024.
With Labour leading in opinion polls, Sunak has vowed to "do what is necessary" to bring down net migration.
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