MIXED reactions have trailed the United Kingdom’s (UK) plans to reduce immigration and curb abuse of its visa system.
On Monday, December 4, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, via its official handle, announced that the country was reforming the Health and Social Care Visa to prevent overseas care workers from bringing dependants to the UK.
He also required social care firms in England to be Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered to sponsor visas, ending the system’s abuse.
The Prime Minister also announced that the country was stopping immigration from undercutting British workers by increasing the minimum earnings threshold by 48 per cent.
“We’re increasing the minimum earnings threshold for skilled workers by 48 per cent to £38,700, encouraging businesses to look to British talent first and invest in their workforce.”
Also, Sunak stated that the UK was scrapping the 20 per cent going rate salary discounts offered for shortage occupations, meaning that the “immigration system cannot undercut British workers.
“We are also ensuring that people only bring dependants to the UK that they can support financially by raising the minimum income requirement for family visas.”
While adding that the country had already stopped overseas students from bringing family members to the UK from 2024, he noted that the UK was increasing the fees migrants must pay to use the NHS.
The new policy has stirred various reactions from Nigerians in the diaspora and those considering travelling to the UK from Nigeria.
They perceive the immigration policy as unfavourable, especially from a country that once colonized theirs.
Some also used the opportunity to demand good governance in Nigeria, noting that every developed country will always favour its citizens.
Reacting to the development, Onye Nkuzi, on X, wrote: “So if you are to work in the UK as a care worker, you should leave your kids behind – to be looked after by who, exactly?
“Only reason why they are crafting these nonsensical policies is we are so desperate for work in the UK because our nations are so dysfunctional.”
Another X user, Oluomo Of Derby, who is also the president of Nigerians in the UK community, advised the citizens to use the opportunity to demand good governance in Nigeria.
“If you like, move to Canada, Australia or even Afghanistan. The politicians in those countries will only put in place policies that favour its citizens. We all need to wake up and demand good governance in our country. Nigeria must work by fire by force,” he wrote.
There will be a legal challenge
A UK-based lawyer, Dele Olawanle, in a thread made on X, argued that there would be a legal challenge against what he described as ‘inhumane’ immigration policy.
According to him, bringing a spouse from abroad has been challenging for many individuals who settle in the UK, as they were required to earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum for several years.
“Today, the government announced that people already in Britain wanting to bring loved ones on a family visa would need to earn £38,700, up from £18,600 in the first increase since 2012. That is more than double the present amount.
“So, you must ‘buy home-made goods’ by marrying locally.
“Surely, there will be legal challenges. It is an inhumane immigration policy that will separate families and deprive many children of their parents.”
He said the rise in income expectations was considered ‘irrational,’ given that only a few people in the UK earn £38,000.
“How many people are earning £38000 in the UK at the moment? It is an irrational increase that shows that Rishi Shunak, who is very rich, and the newly appointed Home Secretary are unaware of what is happening to common people in the society.
The government announced that the employers should source for workers locally, but how many British citizens are willing to work in the care industry?”
In another post, he urged the UK Prime Minister to stop stereotyping immigrants, especially the black ones, noting that the government was making a lot of money from the ‘overpriced’ immigration application fees and the priority service.
He argued that many immigrants were higher rates taxpayers and were more likely to buy properties in just a few years after arriving in the UK due to their ownership mentality.
Besides, he stated that many foreign students sustained most UK universities and the local economy of many towns.
“Rather than raise the minimum income to £38000 per annum to the intending useful immigrants, the government should concentrate on blocking the porous borders which give many asylum seekers the privilege of staying in 4-5 star hotels at the taxpayer’s expense on arrival,” he concluded.