But what do these measures mean for UK businesses and the economy?
Chetal Patel, Head of Immigration at Bates Wells, commented “This latest announcement will come as a blow for many organisations, SMEs in particular, which were already struggling to recruit foreign labour.”
She said many organisations were struggling to fill roles, and local talent was not providing enough to plug gaps left by European workers following Brexit, adding that businesses were struggling to upskill local labour. “This is a significant hike in minimum skilled worker salary requirements, and many will undoubtedly be priced out of the market – they simply won’t be able to sponsor workers in critical roles,” Patel continued.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said the announcements were “wholly disproportionate, given that immigration for work in the private sector is such a small part of total immigration”.
“It is time for politicians to be more open about these trade-offs. Given the recent trend in wages, some uprating of the salary threshold would have been sensible – but such a large rise is likely to negatively affect smaller firms and those in regions farther from London,” he said.
“While many roles we have shortages in are driven by labour availability, the UK also has significant skills shortages. This news also underpins again the government’s serial failure to address the skills system despite half a decade of business feedback about the failed apprenticeship levy and the underfunding of further education.”