New legislation which states immigrants must earn at least £35,000 or face deportation back to their home country will have a hugely detrimental impact on businesses across the UK.
That's the warning from immigration lawyer Harjap Singh Bhangal, who belives the new ruling will have a damaging effect on the UK and its economy.
Announcing the planned changes in February, Home Secretary Theresa May claimed it would help reduce the number of non-Europeans and their dependants who are granted settlement each year from 60,000 to 20,000.
The pay threshold, which came into effect today (April 6), applies to people wanting to remain permanently after more than five years working in the UK. Those who don't qualify will be ordered to leave the UK after six years.
“It’s going to hurt British businesses," Bhangal told Sam Delaney. "If someone’s earning £31,000, they'll have to show, before someone can be given a work permit, that they can’t find another employee in the UK to do this sort of job in specialist fields like IT or engineering.
"What the government wants to do is bring this [net migration] down. Net migration is the number of people who come here and don’t go back. They come here to settle. They [the government] think that by bringing this cap in, anyone who doesn’t meet it won’t settle here.”
The legislation will also undoubtedly take its toll on immigrant families.
“It’s going to tear families apart," added Bhangal. "People would have come here with the intention of settling and now they aren’t earning £35,000 they’re all going to have to go back. They won’t be able to call their families over, it’s a tricky one.”