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Sadiq Khan Defends Migrant Workers And Slams Visa Changes by Home Office

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Mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a scathing critique of the UK Government’s new visa regulations, decrying them as an “economic own goal” and asserting their potential harm to London’s economy. The Home Office’s recently announced visa changes, set to take effect within weeks, have ignited a fierce debate over the impact on legal immigration, as reported by The Standard.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mayor Khan emphasized the crucial role migrants play in both the capital’s public services and the broader national economy. The Home Office’s decision to implement new minimum wage thresholds for foreign worker visas is part of a broader strategy to reduce legal immigration, with the government citing the need for stricter controls.

Khan voiced his concern, stating, “Pulling up the drawbridge on thousands of foreign workers and their families is the latest example of the Government pursuing damaging economic policies in order to look tough on immigration.” He argued that migrants are essential contributors to London’s economy and public services, and instead of imposing further restrictions, the government should support skilled foreign workers seeking to fill vital roles.

Expressing worry about potential negative consequences, the Mayor highlighted the possible adverse effects on sectors such as hospitality and social care. He warned that these restrictions could lead to a “full-blown recruitment crisis” in vital sectors of London’s economy, a sentiment he had previously expressed.

The announced reforms include restricting care workers from bringing family members to the UK, scheduled to commence on March 11, 2024. Concurrently, care providers sponsoring migrants will need to register with the Care Quality Commission from the same date. Further changes involve a substantial increase in the minimum salary required for those on Skilled Worker Visas, set to rise from £26,200 to £38,700, effective April 4, 2024. Additionally, the minimum income threshold for family visas will increase incrementally starting April 11, 2024, requiring workers to earn at least £29,000-a-year to bring a family member from abroad, up from £18,600

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Statistics from the Migration Observatory and the Trust for London reveal that foreign-born individuals constituted nearly a fifth of the UK’s working population at the end of 2022, with 6.2 million foreign-born employees. Migrants are disproportionately represented in sectors such as hospitality, transport, and IT, often working night shifts and in non-permanent positions.

Critics, including a source close to Conservative Mayoral candidate Susan Hall, argue that Mayor Khan should focus on his primary responsibilities, particularly addressing rising crime rates, the impact of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) on Londoners, and increasing tax burdens. The ongoing debate underscores the complex intersection of immigration policy, economic considerations, and local governance, leaving the future impact on London’s diverse workforce uncertain.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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