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Salary Requirement for Non-EU Migrants Could Cross £60,000, Warn UK Experts

Oxford Street in London

Experts in United Kingdom have cautioned that the minimum salary requirement for a non-European Union migrant could go over £60,000 for the first time this year, placing a new burden on UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s immigration policy.

According to a system formed by May while she was the home secretary, minimum salary for visa applicants increases automatically when the number of applications goes beyond an annual quota of 20,700 Tier-2 visas, the Evening Standard reported.

British Medical Association and businesses in the United Kingdom feel that the “out-of-date” and “arbitrary” system must be altered, else they would be “banging their heads” to employ desperately needed doctors and skilled workers, the report said.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, pointed out that there was proof that the demand for visa this year will be “much higher,” pushing the earnings requirement up — it has already risen from £30,000 to £50,000 from last year.

“The fact that the cap has already been hit this April suggests that demand this year could well be much higher than in the past few years. That would mean higher salaries,” Sumption was quoted as saying in the report.

A rise to £60,000 or £70,000 would place a limit on the applications to workers — falling in the top five per cent of earners in the country. This would limit the recruitment in highly paid occupations, ruling out several employers.

For a Tier2 “experienced skilled worker” visa, a person now has to be paid at least £30,000 to apply. This is up by almost £10,000 from 2011 when it was £20,800, BBC reported. A person gets more points for higher salaries or if the job is listed in shortage occupations.

“The only point of a numerical cap is to stop us letting in skilled people that somebody wants to hire,” Jonathan Portes, professor of economic and public policy at King’s College, London, said, calling the system “crazy,” according to the report.

The present system was made in order to help keep the net immigration down to 100,000. The quota, however, was used up for five months consecutively, which resulted in the minimum salary to rise from £30,000 to £50,000 and for a short while touch £60,000. As per the rules, a points system which rewards higher pay is used when the visas run the risk of being exhausted.

“The Government fully recognizes the contribution that international professionals make to the UK. However, it is important that our immigration system works in the national interest, ensuring that employers look first to the UK resident labor market before recruiting from overseas,” a Home Office spokesman said, Evening Standard reported.

Recently, reports emerged that UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid was examining a plan to get rid of the immigration target and then substitute it with an all-new annual quota.

Also, three government departments had urged for visa rules to be relaxed so that the urgently-needed doctors and specialists can be allowed in the United Kingdom. May, however, turned their request down, according to reports.