A parliamentary debate will be held on the 7th of March to discuss the Home Office introduction of the new £35k income threshold for non-EU citizens settling in the UK. The parliamentary debate will be held as a result of an online petition receiving 102,732 signatures.
Under the new rules, non-EU workers who have lived in the UK for longer than five years will have to prove they have a salary of £35,000 or face deportation.
The e-petition states that the new scheme ‘unfairly discriminates against charity workers, nurses, students and others.’
In response to the petition the Government stated that ‘the £35,000 threshold was announced in 2012 following public consultation. It applies only to workers in graduate occupations. Exemptions exist for workers at PhD-level or in a recognised shortage.’
An open discussion has been set up on the Parliament Facebook page for those wishing to discuss and share their views ahead of the debate.
The policy will affect non-EEA national skilled workers with a Tier 2 visa who have come to the UK on or before the April 2011.
The Tier 2 visa is valid for a maximum of six years; applicants can currently apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after having resided in the UK for more than 5 years.
The £35k income threshold will be implemented at the point when workers apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Those unable to meet the threshold will not be allowed to remain in the UK after their Tier 2 visa expires and cannot re-apply for another Tier 2 visa until they have been living outside the UK for at least 12 months.
According to a Home office Impact Assessment carried out in 2012, almost 16% of Tier 2 migrants will not meet the requirements of the new threshold. The report also acknowledged that nurses, IT and software professionals will be most affected by the new policy. Following concerns raised by the healthcare sector, nurses are currently not affected by the new rules as the profession has been placed on the shortage occupation list. But this list is reviewed annually.