Following Home Secretary James Cleverly’s announcement on the 4th December of the government’s intention to cut migration numbers with a 5 step plan, Chetal Patel spoke with various news outlets to discuss the consequences of these changes.

One of the planned actions is to increase the earning threshold for overseas skilled workers from its current level of £26,200 to £38,700, almost a 50% increase. The government also expect to scrap the 20% discount on salaries for roles on the shortage occupation list and increase the minimum income for family visas to the same level as for skilled workers.

Chetal spoke with the Financial Times, People Management and Personnel Today about the inevitable impact this would on smaller businesses.  She said;

In the post Brexit environment we live in today, it’s still clear that many organisations are struggling to fill certain roles. Coupled with this, the local labour force don’t want to take up the roles that Europeans would have traditionally held and organisations are struggling to upskill local labour.

This latest announcement will come as a blow for many organisations, SMEs in particular, who were already struggling to recruit foreign labour. The UK is still struggling to plug the gap with homegrown talent, despite the government at the time of Brexit stating that businesses would be expected to upskill local labour.

This is a significant hike in minimum skilled worker salary requirements, and many will undoubtedly be priced out of the market – they simply won’t be able to sponsor workers in critical roles. I expect we’ll see a surge in sponsor licence applications again in a bid for skilled worker applications to then be submitted before the salary increases take effect. With increases in Home Office fees as well, more and more employers are implementing repayment policies with claw back tapering provisions to offset some of the fee increases.”  

You can read the articles in full below:

Work visa changes: Who is likely to lose out?

Women and small businesses face hardest hit from new UK migrant rules, say experts

Government slashes immigration in 2024: what do experts think?