New £38k salary threshold for migrants coming to UK won’t be for those reapplying, transport secretary tells LBC

13 December 2023, 10:15

Transport Secretary speaks to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast this morning
Transport Secretary speaks to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast this morning. Picture: LBC/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A planned hike in the minimum salary foreign workers must earn before coming to the UK will not affect those already living in the country, the transport secretary has told LBC.

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Caller Caleb phoned into LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast for Call the Cabinet asking if his Chinese wife, who has been living with him and their child since March, will be forced to meet the new planned £38,700 threshold or leave.

Caleb explained how they moved back to the UK earlier this year via the cash savings route, meaning they had over £60,000 in the bank account.

His wife is "completely self-sufficient", with "no access to public funds".

"Is my three-year-old safe from loser her mother?" Caleb asked Nick.

The transport secretary Mark Harper said the Government will set out more information in due course, but added: "First of all, on the retrospective point, my understanding is it's not planned to make to retrospective. For any applications underway now, the rules haven't changed yet.

"They will be under the current rules. I think we are proposing to set out, we need to do it quite quickly, for existing people in the country, we are planning on setting out shortly what we are doing. We are not making it retrospective."

Caller Caleb: Can my wife stay in UK under new migration rules?

The Government's new plan to crack down on legal migration was unveiled earlier this month, which includes raising the minimum salary threshold for a visa from £26,200 to £38,700.

Also speaking to LBC this morning, Mr Cleverly said: "So the proposals, we put forward are forward looking not backward looking, we will make sure that we put clarity, because unfortunately, we made that announcement, and then the narrative moved on very, very quickly.

"And I'm conscious, there are some people who at the moment, quite a number, are unsure and concerned because they don't fully understand the proposals put forward. I have committed to make sure I have a clear explainer as to the implications on people.

"Because I announced that last week, you know, pretty much the following day, flew off to Rwanda, and the conversation has been very much about the Rwanda plan since."

"So will they be okay, those folk?" Nick asks.

"They should, yes.. say this is forward looking ... rather than back."

Read More: ‘Enough is enough’: Ministers outline five-point plan to slash migration by 300,000

Read More: Rishi Sunak to launch crackdown on legal migration by 'hiking minimum salary to £38k'

Speaking to Parliament on December 4, Mr Cleverly said the Government is "taking more robust action than any government before" to reduce legal migration.

Mr Cleverly said this will ensure "people only bring dependants whom they can support financially".

Health and care workers will be exempt from the change.

Will foreign nationals already in the UK be exempt from the new £38,700 earning threshold?

Mr Cleverly told Parliament that net migration is "far too high" and that the series of measures are being brought in to stop people from "jumping the queue".

The series of measures that will be brought in from the Spring will mean "more than 300,000 people who came to the UK last year, would now not be able to".

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