Home » UK PM Rishi Sunak plans to cap work and family visas annually: Details here

UK PM Rishi Sunak plans to cap work and family visas annually: Details here

Immigration is a hot topic in the United Kingdom’s upcoming election. With 685,000 migrants entering the country last year, the ruling Conservative party has announced new plans to cap work and family visas annually. This move, revealed on Monday, is set to reduce immigration.

New proposal

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged that a new Conservative government would cut the number of available visas each year. MPs will vote on these annual proposals, based on recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). Though no specific numbers were given, Sunak emphasised his party’s commitment to taking “bold action to reduce immigration” if elected on July 4.

Current UK visa statistics

Official statistics reveal that more than 300,000 work visas were granted in the year ending March 2024, which is over double the number from 2019. Despite these high numbers, tightened regulations have led to a significant drop in health and social care visa applications. The sector is struggling with tens of thousands of vacancies, and care providers have expressed concerns over the potential impact on staffing.

Changes in visa regulations and their impact on Indians

Recent changes in visa rules restrict caregivers from bringing dependents to reduce the high number of dependents accompanying workers. Skilled workers now face higher salary thresholds to bring dependents, including a 48% increase in the minimum salary for Skilled Worker visa applicants, from approximately Rs 27,78,244 to Rs 41,03,899. This change, effective from April 4, also affects the financial requirements for family visas by removing the 20 per cent “going-rate” discount for migrant workers in shortage occupations.

The recent changes in UK visa regulations have sparked concern among international communities, particularly Indian students, caregivers, and skilled workers. The government argues that these changes are essential to prevent the exploitation of care workers who have been offered visas under false pretences. However, the stricter rules have led to a significant decline in visa applications.

Despite the new restrictions, the UK remains attractive due to its prestigious educational institutions and the absence of a language barrier. Simran Brar, Partner at Karanjawala & Co, advises Indian professionals to consider other countries that might offer easier transitions post-graduation for those in lower-paid jobs or those intending to return to India.

Sharp decline in visa applications

According to the Home Office, there has been a dramatic 76 per cent drop in overseas workers applying for jobs in the UK’s care sector. Additionally, family dependants in the Health and Care visa category have seen a 58 per cent reduction in applications since the new rules were implemented. Indian nationals, who were the top recipients of Health and Care visas last year, are particularly affected by these changes.

The number of dependants in the student visa category has also dropped significantly, with a 79 per cent decline in applications since the new regulations came into effect earlier this year.

First Published: Jun 05 2024 | 1:28 PM IST