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Local News

Home Office rows back on plans to hike family visa salary threshold to £38,700 | Politics News

today21/12/2023

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The Home Office has rowed back on plans to increase the salary threshold for family members of migrants in the UK following a backlash.

Home Secretary James Cleverly told the Commons earlier this month that the threshold for a family visa would rise from £18,600 to £38,700 by “next spring” in a bid to reduce the number of people coming to the UK.

But documents released by the Home Office suggest that the threshold will now only increase to an initially lower figure of £29,000, while no timeline is set out for when the higher threshold of £38,700 will be introduced.

Mr Cleverly unveiled the salary change as part of a five-point plan to reduce legal migration after net migration hit 745,000 last year.

Other measures announced in the plan include a ban on care workers bringing over their families and raising the minimum salary for a skilled worker visa from £26,200 to £38,700.

The backtrack on the family visa was confirmed by Lord Sharpe of Epsom in an answer to a written parliamentary question.

Lord Sharpe highlighted how 75% of the UK population currently meets the minimum income requirement level of £18,600, but that only 30% would meet the proposed salary threshold of £38,700 based on earnings alone.

He said the minimum income requirement would be increased in “incremental stages to give predictability” and that in spring 2024, it would be raised to £29,000.

No date for when the threshold would rise beyond £29,000 was given in Lord Sharpe’s answer.

In response, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: “You have to wonder who is in charge at the Home Office, or if anyone is.

“It was clear to everyone else that the raising of the earnings threshold was unworkable.

“This was yet another half thought through idea to placate the hardliners on their own back benches.

“James Cleverly needs to put down the spade and stop digging. Decisions like this should be made by experts and politicians working together.”

Sky News has contacted the Home Office for comment.

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