Phone Lines Open
+44 0203 0111 456
Free Assessment
Contact OnlineContact Visa Kings Global

U.K. Election Could Lead to More Immigration Restrictions

  1. Immigration Blog
  2. U.K. Election Could Lead to More Immigration Restrictions
U.K. Election Could Lead to More Immigration Restrictions

Former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said that a parliamentary “lock” on the number of migrants coming to Britain should be introduced to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands

Immigration rules in the United Kingdom may be tightened further even before the forthcoming elections as both parties will compete to rein in net migration in a bid to appeal to voters.

Labour has vowed to review new foreign worker visa rules if the party wins the general election forecast for later this year, the widely-read London Evening Standard newspaper reported last month. The Conservative government’s former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said that a parliamentary “lock” on the number of migrants coming to Britain should be introduced to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, according to an April 28 report in The Times.

The U.K. issued a record 1.4 million visas to foreign nationals to live in the country in 2023, the Home Office said in February, renewing calls on the government to take further steps to curb immigration. The rise was driven by a 46 per cent increase in foreign workers, with the number of care workers granted visas tripling. Almost half of those granted visas were family members of workers.

Speculation has grown that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak may call an early general election as he faces a decline in approval ratings. On Saturday Sunak repeatedly refused to rule out holding one in July and allies said that he planned to wait until November for the election, according to The Times.

The Home Office has said that immigration numbers will start falling once a series of new measures announced in December start to take effect.

They have included scrapping dependant visas for care workers, increasing the threshold salary to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa to £38,700 from £26,200 and disallowing foreign students not involved in research to bring in dependants from January 1, 2024. All of this should help to cut net migration by about 300,000 a year.

Opponents to the plan have argued the rules will put a strain on families and lead to staff shortages, particularly in the care and hospitality sectors.

Labour shadow minister Chris Bryant last month confirmed the party would not reverse the ban on foreign students bringing dependents to the U.K. but could not say whether it would continue the restrictions for health and care workers.

Labour has said it would ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the new rules preventing care workers from bringing dependents to the U.K. and salary thresholds and make a decision based on its findings. The party also called for a “proper” social care workforce plan, including a Fair Pay Agreement, according to the Evening Standard.

U.K. governments are likely to be under pressure to curb net migration, which climbed to a record 745,000 in 2022, about three times the annual average before the pandemic. Curbing the inflow of foreigners was a key election plank of the Conservative Party.

Former Immigration Minister Jenrick in a report, Taking Back Control, argues that the government should introduce a “migration budget” which would cap both overall migration levels and how many people can come to Britain via visa routes, according to The Times.

These limits would be set and voted on by parliament, with the report recommending that a cabinet minister should be required to provide an annual update on the pressure that migration is placing on housing, infrastructure and public services, such as the National Health Service.

It also argues that the UK must become the “grammar school of the western world” by toughening up the points-based system, introduced after Brexit, to ensure that the vast majority of visas are offered to high-skilled, well-paid migrants.

While the government has recently announced a crackdown on foreign student visas and increased visa salary thresholds by more than 50 per cent, the report will suggest these thresholds should be raised further.

The report also calls on Sunak to revive the Conservative pledge, first made by David Cameron in 2010, to reduce net migration to below 100,000.

If you are considering applying for a visa for the U.K. it might be sensible to act sooner rather than later. There is no knowing how these prospective changes might impact on you. One thing is pretty certain: that getting into the U.K. and achieving permanent residency will not get any easier. So rapid action could be the order of the day.

If you have a question or would like our team's assistance with any immigration matters please get in touch through our contact form or by phone. We will be happy to provide the latest information and expert advice relevant to your specific requirements.

The brand name Visa Kings Global is used under licence by Seed Mentors Entrepreneurs Limited (SME). SME is not a firm of solicitors and is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SME does not give financial, legal or tax advice.

Information affecting all users of this website can be found on our Legal Notices page which you are deemed to have read and accepted.

Visa Kings Global Monogram