Australians in the UK worried over the £31K rule: Don’t panic, yet

Australians in the UK worried over the £31K rule: Don’t panic, yet

Experts have said the proposed “£31K” income restriction on Australians wanting to remain in the UK is likely to be revised — but warn an immigration crackdown is imminent.

Damian Green
By Heather Walker

A PROPOSAL by UK Immigration Minister Damian Green that suggests non-EU migrants earning less than £31k after five years will not be welcome to stay in the UK has made many Australians extremely concerned and confused. Australian Times sister paper The South African contacted some immigration experts to find out the real implications of this proposal.

How likely is it that such a restriction will come into force?
“The UK government is quite serious about sticking to its election promises to reduce net migration,” says Catherine Maclay of Platt & Associates. “The government has tasked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) with researching labour market trends and needs as well as the country’s economic requirements, to design a more ‘selective’ system of immigration, especially permanent migration to the UK.”

However, she said it was important to remember that these recent announcements are about proposed changes to the immigration rules.

“They aren’t in the immigration rules as yet and until such time as changes to the immigration rules are made, these remain proposed changes. Any changes to the rules which may be made in coming months may also be challenged on a number of legal grounds which should also be borne in mind.”

Verity Marshall, acting manager of Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants, echoed Maclay’s view.

“The key thing to bear in mind is that this £31k income threshold is just a proposal, and has to go through much consultation before being passed into law. Chances are that it will be heavily fought against in the courts should it go ahead.”

Marshall added that she thought the plan was unfeasible as it ruled out people doing essential work who are on a lower salary than £31k.

Is £31k a blanket figure or will exceptions be made?
Laura Pinto, UK casework manager at 1st Contact believes it’s quite likely the government will implement an income threshold but it may not be as high as £31k.

“The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report puts through a number of suggested figures — £31k is on the higher end. It’s also likely, according to the report, that if you’re married, your spouse’s income will also be taken into account and may mean your required income threshold will be lower,” Pinto said.

What can you do to make sure you’re not at a disadvantage?
In terms of qualifying for Green’s desired “brightest and best” Maclay advised: “Migrants would be well advised to keep their careers and continuing professional development on track to ensure they have the best chance of being identified as having skills that are valuable to the British economy.”

She emphasised, “migrants should not be complacent about their immigration status in the UK, especially if they are thinking of settling for the long term”.

“Where they would not be able to settle under future implemented changes to the immigration rules, they should consider other immigration avenues in their unique personal circumstances that may lead to settlement.”

She added: “Many migrants will have objections to changes they feel are unfair to them and they can challenge through legal mechanisms and by approaching their MPs. The discussion is by no means simple, and many migrants lawfully in the UK are working and paying taxes here so they feel they should also have a say in the debate about their future as well as the future of the country to which they already contribute.”

Does this news allay your fears? Or do you think that the UK Immigration crackdown will happen, no matter where you come from? Comment below:

Australian Times

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