Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a raft of new measures that will strictly control the numbers of workers that can come to the UK from outside Europe for employment purposes.
Alongside limiting the number of skilled non-EU workers businesses can bring into the country, the Home Office is tightening the intra-company transfer route, which will sit outside the annual limit, and restricting Tier One of the Points Based System (PBS) to all but entrepreneurs, investors and people of exceptional talent.
Under the plans, there will be an annual limit of 21,700 for those coming into the UK under the skilled and highly skilled routes - 20,700 under the skilled route and 1,000 under the new ‘exceptional talent’ route.
The minimum salary for those coming through the intra-company transfer route for more than 12 months will also be raised to £40,000.
The Prime Minister said:
Over recent years we’ve had net immigration into the UK of about 200,000. That is 2 million extra people every 10 years. That is unacceptably high and has got to be brought down, but I’m quite convinced it is possible to bring it down while making sure that business can access [..] talent […]
The Home Secretary said:
Today’s announcement has set out a clear, rational approach to which workers we will allow into the UK job market. We have set out an approach which will not only get immigration down to sustainable levels but at the same time, protects those businesses and institutions which are vital to our economy.
The Coalition Government pledged to introduce an annual limit, allowing Britain to remain competitive in the international jobs market, while ensuring migrant labour is not used as a substitute for those already looking for work in the UK.
In addition to the annual limit announcement, the Home Secretary committed to launching a consultation focusing on Tier Four of the PBS - the student route - which currently accounts for two thirds of migrants entering the UK each year.
Read more: Limit for non-European workers set out