Campaigners call for rethink on UK’s £35k migrant threshold

Home Secretary Theresa May, speaking in 2014 Photo: UK Department for International Development

Campaigners are now calling for a rethink of the UK government’s pay threshold for migrants to remain in the country.

In April 2016, the Home Office will introduce a £35,000 barrier that those working in the UK for five years or longer will have to meet if they wish to remain in the country. The policy only applies to non-EU citizens, but campaigners have been quick to note that this will mean that nurses, charity workers and others could face deportation.

The proposals were first announced in 2011, with the government announcing last year a list of professions that would be exempt from the policy. Scientists and researchers in PhD level occupations will not be subject to the rules, the Home Office said, while exemptions will also apply to occupations where there is a shortage, such as maths, chemistry and physics teachers. Nurses were also added to the list last year, reports The Independent.

Tier 2 visa holders who do not meet the minimum income threshold will be allowed to extend their visa by another year, or leave after six years of residing in the UK.

A petition created by Joshua Harbord branding the measure “ridiculous” has now received 57,322 signatures.

“It will drive more workers from the NHS and people from their families. This empty gesture will barely affect the immigration statistics. It’s a waste of time, money and lives,” he wrote on the petition’s page.

Mr Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, has supported the campaign, telling the newspaper: “Britain must remain open for business – we should be looking to attract the best and brightest not turn them away.”