JAPA MISSION SUFFERS SETBACK AS UK UNVEILS STRINGENT VISA RULES TO CUT 300,000 IMMIGRANTS PER YEAR
“Thousands of Nigerians would likely be affected by the new policy.”
- AYOOLA BABALOLA
DECEMBER 4, 2023
The United Kingdom has introduced a new set of rules that would make it more difficult for Nigerians and others seeking to move into that country to obtain a visa.
Home Secretary James Cleverly announced the changes in the House of Commons on Monday.
The government said it would not set a minimum annual salary for foreign workers to be eligible for a skilled worker visa at £38,700 from £26,200. The figure itself is more than the existing median average salary of a full-time worker in Britain.
The policy will also restrict dependents’ ability to get a visa into the UK. Healthcare workers would no longer be able to bring their family members. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration believed this would cut immigration into the UK by 300,000 per year.
Mr Cleverly also said those using the graduate route to enter the UK would be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the validity of their documentation.
The government said the tough measures were necessary to address growing concerns about the impact of unchecked migration on public services, housing, and jobs across the UK.
According to recent figures, net migration – the difference between the number of people coming to live in the UK and the number of people leaving – was a record 745,000 in 2022. Mr Sunak has come under intense pressure in recent weeks, including from members of his Conservative Party, to do something about the immigration numbers.
Recent polling suggested the Conservatives are likely to suffer serious defeat at the polls next year, with the Labour Party doing well across demographics. While many said they didn’t necessarily believe Labour would be better at handling the immigration crisis, they said it would be appropriate to punish the Conservatives for failing to make a dent in the numbers despite campaigning on a platform to restrict the flow of both legal and illegal immigration to Britain.
Thousands of Nigerians would likely be affected by the new policy. New data released last month showed the UK absorbed over 141,000 Nigerians between 2022 and 2023, a figure that was expected to rise as hardship intensifies under the new administration of Bola Tinubu.
Inflation and foreign exchange crises have combined with the removal of subsidies on petrol to leave many Nigerians worse off than they were a year ago, all factors that would continue pushing Nigerians to other climes in search of a better life.