The Government is set to face another round of bad immigration headlines this week, with figures out on Thursday expected to confirm another year of extremely high net migration.
The day after Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, it’s expected figures will be published confirming net migration is once again around 500,000.
The influx would be around twice that seen in the years before Britain left the EU and will continue to blow apart the Tories’ 2019 manifesto pledge to bring down the overall rate of migration.
However, 500,000 will represent a fall from the record peak of 637,000 in the year ending September 2022.
Ahead of the figures, the Government is believed to be preparing a new policy that will reduce low-paid immigration.
It’s reported foreign workers will now need a salary of more than £30,000 to come to Britain, up from the current £26,200 required by workers outside “shortage occupations”.
However, even the new figure is well below the median UK wage of £33,000.
If predictions are correct, it’s expected net migration will have fallen compared to last year thanks to an increasing amount of emigration, including overseas students returning home and a decline in the number of refugees from Ukraine and Hong Kong.
The proposals to increase the minimum salary threshold have been pushed by immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who told the Telegraph last week that failure to reduce net migration is a “betrayal” of the public.
“Net migration is far too high. For more than 30 years, the British public has been voting for controlled migration. But politicians of all stripes have failed to deliver the migration system that they’re seeking.
“When we left the European Union, we took back control of the levers of migration.
“But then we went on to betray the promise by failing to establish a system which significantly reduced levels of migration.
“I want to see fundamental reform of our system, and that needs to happen as a matter of urgency.”
Despite the warnings of betrayal, Rishi Sunak is reportedly refusing to support further cuts to the number of foreign students entering the country.
Earlier this year the right-wing New Conservatives caucus of MPs called for the salary threshold to be hiked to £38,000, but even this will only reduce the net migration figures by 54,000 per year.
Responding to the report, Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke said the police was “right”.
He said: “An earnings threshold at least at, but ideally above, UK average earnings is the only way to reduce net immigration to sustainable levels.
“There is simply no popular mandate whatever for it to be at 500,000+/year, or anywhere close to that.”
Kevin Foster MP added that there is also a need to update the general salary threshold for the Skilled Worker Visa, and the 20 percent discount on paying the UK labour market rate for immigrants coming to fill jobs on the shortage occupation list should also be scrapped.