General Election – What are the Parties’ Immigration Policies?

General Election – What are the Parties’ Immigration Policies?

Immigration is one of the biggest talking points ahead of Thursday’s General Election. We take a look below at the major parties’ immigration policies:

1. Net Migration: This is the net total of migrants during the period (i.e., the number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants)

Conservatives: The Conservatives have not committed to any figures, but Rishi Sunak has confirmed that they would take “bold action to reduce immigration“. The party has said that they would introduce a cap on the number of visas available to migrants (this would only apply to worker and family visas).

Labour: Labour has promised to cut net migration but has not set an overall target

Lib Dems: Sir Ed Davey said that legal migration is “too high” but has not committed to any targets.

Reform UK: The party has pledged to freeze non-essential immigration. The exceptions would be those with essential skills who work in healthcare.

2. Immigration Fees

Conservatives: Fees for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) increased by 66% in February 2024, to £1,035 per year. If elected, the Conservatives have promised to:

  1. Remove the IHS discount for students;
  2. Increase visa fees by 25%; and
  3. Require migrants to undergo a health check in advance of travelling and increasing their IHS or requiring them to buy health insurance if they are likely to be a burden on the NHS.

Labour: Labour have not commented on their plans concerning immigration fees.

Lib Dems: The Lib Dems have pledged to:

  1. Reduce the fee for registering a child as a British citizen from £1,214 to the cost of administration; and
  2. Abolish the fees for the Youth Mobility Scheme;

Reform UK: Reform UK have not commented on their plans concerning immigration fees.

3. Tax

The Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems have not commented on any immigration related tax changes.

Reform UK: The Reform UK party has announced that, if elected, businesses will be required to pay a national insurance premium for overseas workers.

4. Skilled Worker Visa

Conservatives: The salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas increased to £38,700 in April 2024. The Conservatives have said that they will increase this threshold in line with inflation. 

Labour: Labour has vowed to review the increases which were made to the Skilled Worker salary threshold.

Lib Dems: The Lib Dems have not indicated they would make any changes to the Skilled Worker visa process.

Reform UK: Reform UK have not made any comments on proposed changes to the Skilled Worker visa.

5. Family/Partner Route

Conservatives: The Conservatives plan to raise the minimum income requirement for the Partner route from £29,000 to £34,500 during 2024. In 2025, they intend to further raise this to £38,700

Labour: Paul Blomfield, MP led a Westminster Hall debate on 23 April 2024, where he “called for a root and branch review of the spousal migration rules, considering the unfairness at their heart and the disproportionate impact on so many, and for the planned increases – this year and in 2025 – to be suspended”

Lib Dem: As of April 2024, the government increased the Partner route visa minimum income requirement from £18,600 to £29,000. The Lib Dems plan to reverse this back to £18,600.

Reform UK: Reform UK have not commented on family visas.

6. Student Migration

Conservatives: The Conservatives have said that they will:

  1. restrict remote teaching;
  2. require universities to regulate the international recruitment agents they use; and
  3. increase financial maintenance requirements.

Labour: Labour have not specified as to whether they would make any policy changes.

Lib Dem: The Lib Dems have said that student visas will be transferred from the Home Office to other departments.

Reform UK: Reform UK have said they will introduce new visa rules for international students and their dependents.

7: Care Visas

Conservatives: The Conservatives have already made significant changes. As of March 2024, care providers must be registered with the Care Quality Commission to sponsor carers. No further changes have been pledged.

Labour: Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper said that Labour would conduct a full investigation into the treatment of migrant care workers.

Lib Dem: One significant proposal from the Lib Dems is that they propose to exempt care workers from the IHS.

Reform UK: Reform UK have not publicly commented on any policies they propose in relation to carers.

If you would like to discuss this article with a member of our Immigration team, please do get in touch, here.