- Written by Callum May and Chas Geiger
- BBC News
The government has backed away from plans to raise the salary Britons need to bring family members to the UK to £38,700 next spring.
But the new limit will initially be set at £29,000, with further increases on unspecified dates after that.
Labor said the change showed “the chaos of the Conservative government”.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said ministers had failed to properly consult on the new threshold, adding: “It is no surprise they are now backing away so quickly.”
Ministers are under pressure to tighten controls on legal immigration after the number of people coming to the UK reached record levels in 2022.
Official estimates showed that net migration – the difference between the number of people coming into and leaving the UK – rose to a record 745,000 people last year.
Home Office Minister Lord Sharpe of Epsom confirmed the plan change in response to a written parliamentary question.
He said the minimum would now rise to £29,000 in the spring, before rising “in gradual stages” to give “predictability”.
He said the plan was to eventually raise the price to £34,500 and then £38,700 – but no dates had been set.
“it is not practical”
The Home Office also confirmed that anyone wishing to renew a family visa will be able to do so, without having to meet the new minimum income threshold.
Those who already have a family visa under the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against their current income level, a government fact sheet said.
The Prime Minister recently told MPs that the government was considering “transitional arrangements” to make changes to the thresholds to ensure they are “fair”.
The Liberal Democrats said the £38,700 limit was “unworkable”.
Home affairs spokesman Alastair Carmichael added: “This was another ill-considered idea to appease hardliners on the backbenches.
“James Cleverly needs to put down a spade and stop digging. Decisions like this need to be made by experts and politicians working together.
“He should also publish advice from the Treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility on the impact of his package of changes on the economy.”
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