London: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to increase the salary threshold for migrant workers to 40,000 pounds as part of a leadership contest deal agreed with his sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman, according to a media report.
The Daily Telegraph said it has seen a copy of the four-point plan agreed between the two leaders to lower levels of immigration, which pledged to increase the minimum salary for a skilled worker arriving in the UK from 26,000 pounds to 40,000 pounds.
The plan also included ending extended visas for graduates, limiting the number of dependents coming to the UK, and prioritising certain universities for student visas.
The newspaper said Sunak had verbally agreed to the demands, which was witnessed by others.
The report comes after Braverman in a searing letter after her sacking said she had struck a deal with the PM that saw her agree to serve in his Cabinet because of “firm assurances” he gave her “on key policy priorities”.
The controversial right-wing leader accused Sunak of betraying his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to stop small boats crossing the Channel, which she said, was among her conditions to take the post in October last year.
While Number 10 Downing Street denied any written deal with Braverman, Sunak on Monday vowed tougher action to curb surge in the numbers of incoming workers and students.
“I’m very clear that the levels of net migration are too high. They need to come down to more sustainable levels,” Sunak said, speaking at the Global Investment Summit.
The UK’s net migration figure peaked at 745,000 in the year to December 2022 — three times higher than the level before Brexit, according to revised estimates published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday.
The increase has largely been attributed to a surge in the number of people coming to the UK to work in the health and social care sectors.
The opposition Labour said it would cut net migration to a “couple of hundred thousand a year” within its first term, adding that the party intended to get net migration back to “normal levels”.
According to The Guardian, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch, hinted on Monday that the salary threshold could be increased anyway as part of “much, much tougher measures” being drawn up to bring down migration to the UK.