Suella Braverman points to major flaw in Rishi Sunak migration plan as she lets rip in new scathing attack


Suella Braverman has launched a scathing attack on the Government's new plans to cut migration, pointing out that the impacts of the changes are unlikely to be felt before the next election

Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 04/12/2023

- 18:09

Updated: 04/12/2023

- 20:00

The former Home Secretary warned Sunak that today's package of measures is 'too late'

Suella Braverman has launched a scathing attack on the Government's new plans to cut migration, pointing out that the impacts of the changes are unlikely to be felt before the next election.

This came after James Cleverly unveiled a five-point plan to curb legal 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.

But writing on X, Braverman said: "I welcome the measures announced today to cut net migration. They are a step in the right direction. But we need to be honest. This package is too late and the government can go further.

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

"If the salary threshold rise only takes effect in Spring 2024, we won’t realistically see its impact until the 2025 ONS numbers. Had this been introduced a year or even 6 months ago, we would start to see a fall in the numbers before the next General Election.

"As well as these proposals, we should go further: shortening the graduate route - not just reviewing it again; & we need an annual cap, set by Parliament, across all visa routes, so we don’t get into this terrible situation again & government can be properly held to account.

"I put forward similar measures 6 times in the last year. I’m glad that the PM has finally agreed to introducing some of them now but the delay has reduced their impact."

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.

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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