London: A leading campaign group espousing
the cause of Indian and other non-EU professionals has
strongly opposed the proposal to introduce a salary threshold
for migrants who wish to settle in the UK permanently after
working here for five years.
Immigration minister Damian Green yesterday announced
that for the first time, the link between the number of years
a migrant spends in the country and permanent settlement was
proposed to be broken with the requirement that they can
settle only if they earn at least 35,000 pounds annually.
"Settlement in the UK should not be a right of the
wealthy few. It is high time that these morally bankrupt
politicians stopped preaching lessons on morality and human
rights to the developing countries and turned its attention on
the migrants who come to UK by ensuring them a fair and a
reasonable chance of making a home in the UK irrespective of
their class of earnings," the HSMP Forum said in a statement.
Until now, permanent settlement was automatic: if a
migrant spends five years in the UK in an immigration route
that leads to settlement, and has not committed major criminal
offences, permanent settlement was granted, irrespective of
the salary level.
The new measure is scheduled to take effect from 2016 and
is likely to reduce the number of Indian and other non-EU
migrants granted permanent from 60,000 to 20,000 every year.
The salary threshold would mean that many teachers,
nurses and others from outside the EU would need to leave the
UK after working for five years because they cannot meet the
35,000 pounds annual salary threshold.
Amit Kapadia, executive director of HSMP Forum, said: "We
are concerned that the government's proposed plans will not
only lead to human rights abuses, litigations, enormous waste
of tax payers' money but in addition will have a severe impact
on public services and UK businesses".
He said: "The government only wants wealthy people as its
citizens. How is that fair? The politicians seem to be busy
waging petty wars in the name of immigration with both Labour
and Conservatives crying hoarse over immigration. Draconian
changes in fees and settlement criteria are prejudicial".
At a time when the David Cameron government should
concentrate on getting the country out of recession, Kapadia
alleged that it was trying to project immigration as the main
"It should get its priorities right instead of making
life miserable for the migrants," he said.
Thousands of Indian professionals migrate to the UK under
various work categories.
After spending five years in their jobs, those seeking
permanent settlement after April 2016 will need to earn at
least 35,000 pounds in their jobs for permanent settlement.
Immigration minister Damian Green said migrants who enter
as PhD-level scientists and researchers will qualify for
settlement without having to meet the 35,000 pounds minimum
The new changes announced include restrictions on
domestic workers who can come to the UK.
Such migrants will not be allowed to stay for more than
six months, without a right to change employer.
However, current arrangements for domestic workers will
continue for private servants in diplomatic households, but
they will not be granted permanent settlement after five
Green said: "We are sweeping aside the idea that everyone
who comes here to work can settle, and instead reserving this
important right only for the brightest and best".
He added: "Our reforms of the immigration system will
ensure we are more selective not only about those who are
allowed to come here but also those who are allowed to stay
First Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 14:55