Kenyans face pay caps to work in UK
The UK has unveiled tighter conditions for foreign workers and their spouses eyeing to settle in the country as it seeks to curb the inflow of immigrants.
Immigration minister Damian Green on Thursday said that the UK government planned to act tougher on immigrants since the country did not require more middle managers or unskilled workers.
An increase in the number of immigrants has strained Britain’s economy, fanning political strife.
“Britain does not need more migrant middle managers any more than it needs unskilled labour,” Mr Green said in a statement.
Under the new proposals, anyone seeking to settle permanently in the UK must be able to attract at least an annual salary of between £31,000 and £49,000 (Sh4.1 to Sh6.5 million).
“We do need top of the range professionals, senior executives, technical specialists, entrepreneurs and exceptional artistic and scientific talent,” Mr Green said.
Starting from April, students intending to work in the UK upon successful completion of their studies under the popular post-study-work programme will also be affected by the new rules.
Only those with a good graduate-level job will be allowed to stay on.
Britain also plans to introduce more formal tests to verify whether marriages are as a result of genuine relationships or sham arrangements aimed at winning swift passage into the UK.
As part of the efforts to control immigration through marriages, husbands, wives or fiancés who cannot speak English will be barred from settling in the country.
The UK is currently a popular destination for Kenyan immigrants for both permanent and temporary stay.
An estimated 200,000 Kenyans live in the UK legally.
Many have assumed UK citizenship through marriage or naturalisation.
The UK is also a major recipient of academic tourists from Kenya with the British Council in Nairobi estimating that close to 5,000 Kenyan students join UK universities each year.