Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to increase the minimum salary requirement for non-EU work permit applicants is in danger of being scuppered after two major government departments opposed the measure.
Mr Cameron wants to raise the minimum salary firms must pay work permit holders from outside the European Union from the current rate of £20,800 to more than £30,000 according to some government insiders.
It’s part of the Prime Minister’s plan to bring down net migration to the tens of thousands from the current figure which is in excess of 300,000.
However the Business and Health Departments say the planned increase in the minimum salary requirement would stop UK firms recruiting skilled young people and could lead to wage inflation in the NHS.
The Departments’ concerns have received the backing of the government’s own Migration Advisory Committee, whose chairman Sir David Metcalf has urged Mr Cameron to be “cautious” in introducing new salary requirements.
The Prime Minister announced the measure in the run-up to the election in May, saying it was “too easy” for businesses to recruit foreign workers.
The Department of Health has said an increase in the minimum salary for non-EU workers would mean that resident workers would stand to lose out.
The Department for Business meanwhile says Mr Cameron’s measures would “prevent talented skilled workers entering the UK”.