'Enough is enough!' James Cleverly unveils five-point plan to slash migration by 300,000

'Enough is enough!' James Cleverly unveils five-point plan to slash migration by 300,000

James Cleverly has begun unveiling a five point plan to tackle migration, in a move which could cut migration by up to 300,000

Parliament TV
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 04/12/2023

- 16:41

Updated: 04/12/2023

- 18:22

The package of measures will come into force from next spring

James Cleverly has begun unveiling a five point plan to tackle migration, in a move which he said would cut migration by up to 300,000.

He claimed the move will be the "biggest ever reduction" in migration.

The Home Secretary said that today's measures will mean 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would now be denied visas.

Cleverly said the Government will raise the minimum salary threshold for work visas to £38,700 and ban care workers from bringing dependents.

WATCH: Sunak says he is 'determined to do what is necessary' to bring migration down 

It will also scrap the shortage occupation list and replace it with a new Immigration Salary List.

The Government will raise the income needed to bring family into the UK to £38,700 and review the graduate visa route.

Cleverly told the Commons: “From January 2024, the right for international students to bring dependants will be removed unless they are on postgraduate courses designated as a research programme. We always want to attract the global brightest and best.

“We have also stopped international students from switching out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed. These changes will have a tangible impact on net migration.”

“Around 153,000 visas were granted to dependants of sponsored students in the year ending September 2023, today I can announce that we will go even further than those provisions already in place, with a five-point plan to further curb immigration abuses that will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration.”

He added: “In total, this package, plus our reduction in students' dependants will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year.”

Outlining the five-point plan, he said: “The first of our five points will be to end the abuse of the health and care visa. We will stop overseas care workers from bringing family dependants and we will require care firms in England to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission in order for them to sponsor visas.

“Approximately 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023. Only 25% of dependants are estimated to be in work, meaning a significant number are drawing on public services rather than helping to grow the economy.

“We recognise that foreign workers do great work in our NHS and health sector, but it is also important that migrants make a big enough financial contribution.

“Therefore, we will increase annual immigration surcharge this year by 66% from £624 to £1,035 to raise on average around £1.3 billion for the health services of this country every year.”

Reacting to his statement, former minister Simon Clarke said: "Today is a massive step in the right direction. Serious, credible action.

"The era of cheap foreign labour undercutting UK wages - and damaging productivity, and allowing too many people to be wrongly classified as too sick to work - must end."

But Labour accused the Government of being in a “chaotic panic” over immigration.

Speaking in the Commons, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Today’s statement is an admission of years of total failure by this Conservative Government.


“Failure on the immigration system and failure on the economy – it is another example of the total chaos at the heart of this Government.

“Net migration has trebled since the last election – since the Conservatives promised to reduce it – and it’s trebled as a result of their policies on the economy and on immigration, including the Prime Minister’s policy decisions.

“In a chaotic panic the Prime Minister now opposes the policies he introduced and thinks that their own decisions are a problem, but who does the Home Secretary think has been in charge for the last 13 years? More chaos, more veering all over the place.”

Responding, Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “We have put forward the most substantial package of legal migration reforms the country has ever seen.”

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