Migrants will have to meet new £38,700 salary threshold but not until 2025, Sunak says, after backlash from Tory right

22 December 2023, 19:08 | Updated: 22 December 2023, 19:15

The changes to migration salaries will come in two phases
The changes to migration salaries will come in two phases. Picture: Getty/ONS/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rishi Sunak has confirmed that migrants will have to earn £38,700 a year before bringing their family to the UK - but not until 2025.

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The prime minister announced today that the changes would be coming in two phases.

A rise from the current £18,600 level, announced earlier in December, had been scheduled for Spring, with the Govt suggesting it would rise straight away to £38,700.

But in Spring, the threshold will only rise to £29,000, before being hiked again in 2025.

It follows a backlash from the Tory right, after the Home Office said on Thursday that the salary threshold would only rise to £29,000.

Following Thursday's announcement, David Jones, deputy chairman of the right-wing European Research Group (ERG), said the move was a "regrettable sign of weakness".

Meanwhile, Tory MP and former minister Jonathan Gullis, wrote on Twitter that it was "deeply disappointing and undermines our efforts".

Rishi Sunak in Lincolnshire
Rishi Sunak in Lincolnshire. Picture: Getty
The number of arrivals to the UK is soaring
The number of arrivals to the UK is soaring. Picture: ONS

Mr Sunak defended the planned hikes today, saying: "The principle here is absolutely right that if people are bringing dependants into this country as part of their family, they must be able to support them.

"We're doing exactly as we said we would. We're just doing it in two stages. So it will go up in a few months time and then it will go up again the full amount in early 2025."

He added: "The levels of migration are far too high. They've got to come down."

Read More: Migrants applying for asylum are going home for Christmas, Border Force chief reveals

Read More: Talks with airlines to take migrants to Rwanda have not started, James Cleverly admits

James Cleverly also plans to get the Rwanda plan off the ground
James Cleverly also plans to get the Rwanda plan off the ground by the Spring. Picture: Alamy

It comes after the Border Force Chief told LBC that asylum seekers in the UK are trying to go back home for Christmas, before popping back to Britain.

Phil Douglas said his officers had been left shocked when carrying out exit checks on people leaving the UK.

LBC got an exclusive look behind the scenes at how Border Force operates at Luton airport - one of the busiest for Eastern European airlines in the run up to Christmas.

He said: "We do find a lot of people who have claimed asylum in this country, and are heading back to their own country for holidays, which obviously isn't allowed.

"Home Secretary James Cleverly told LBC that some of those coming to the UK are economic migrants who are seeking a better life.

He said: "We have always been a very generous country, to the people who are genuinely seeking protection from persecution, from war from violence.

"That has always been the nature of the British people. But we also recognise there are a lot of people who are fundamentally economic migrants.

"They are coming here because they want better jobs, perhaps, and what we're saying is you, if you're coming here illegally, you will not have the right to stay here, you will be sent home."

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