The UK is about to introduce a new immigration rule that will require migrant workers who have been in the country for more than 5 years to have an annual income of £35 000 (R665 625 at R19.03/pound) or more or face deportation.
The Guardian reports that the policy was announced in 2012 by British Home Secretary Theresa May and will be implemented from April 2016 onward.
The new rule has been met with dread by many which is hardly surprising, as the annual income of the average UK worker is £27 000 (R513 779), according to the High Pay Centre, an independent think tank monitoring income distribution.
It has the nursing and teaching sector especially worried, since both relied heavily on foreign workers.
BBC reports that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it would cause absolute chaos for the National Health Service (NHS) who expect to lose around 3 300 nurses by 2017.
According to a graph put together by the Nursing & Midwifery Council nurses from the Philippines, India and South Africa are in the majority, with just under 5 000 South Africans currently plying there trade in this sector.
The RCN stipulates that the average annual income for entry level nurses is £21 000 (R399 606), while staff nurses get an annual income of between £26 000 (R494 593) and £34 000 (R646 991), senior nurses receive between £31 000 (R589 926) and £40 000 (R760 912), while matrons can earn up to £81 000 (R1.5m).
TES reports that similar concerns were raised by the headteachers’ union, which questioned the wisdom of deporting well-trained staff during a major teacher recruitment crisis. The union said that ‘significant numbers’ of overseas-trained teachers fell below the £35 000 settlement pay threshold.
According to a Mirror report the average annual teacher’s salary is £32 000 (R608 903)
The British Home Office has explained that this pay threshold has been introduced to curb the UK’s reliance on foreign labour, but that the changes would not impact occupations where there was a shortage.
Up until now settlement has been granted on the basis of length of time living in the country, as well as pre-existing ties with the UK. The policy is part of the government’s determination to reduce annual net migration.