The government has scaled back plans to increase the salary required to bring foreign family members to the UK.
Home Secretary James Cleverly told the Commons earlier this month the threshold for a family visa would rise from £18,600 to £38,700 next spring, but ministers now say the earning threshold Britons need to bring foreign family members will now only increase to £29,000 in the spring.
Lord Sharpe said the current threshold of £18,600 allows 75% of the UK working population to bring their foreign family members to join them but that increasing the threshold to £38,700 would reduce that figure to 30% of the working population.
The minister said: “In spring 2024, we will raise the threshold to £29,000, that is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs which are eligible for skilled worker visas, moving to the 40th percentile (currently £34,500) and finally the 50th percentile (currently £38,700 and the level at which the general skilled worker threshold is set) in the final stage of implementation.”
Mr Cleverly said following the update that he still believed the government’s plans would reduce net migration by 300,000 people a year.
“I have been clear that current levels of migration to the UK are far too high,” he said.
“The British people are, rightly, frustrated and want to see action.
“This is why the government announced a plan to decisively cut net migration and ensure the system is fair and works for the people of this country.
“It is vital that British workers are not undercut and that we ease the strain on our public services. The measures I have announced prioritise those who will contribute significantly to our economy, whilst cracking down on those who seek to take advantage of our kindness.
“Today, I have provided further detail about how these measures will be applied and when they will be introduced.
“This plan will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration, with around 300,000 fewer people coming to the UK compared to last year, delivering on our promise to bring the numbers down.”