Overseas teachers will be exempt from the government’s new visa crackdown, ministers have suggested.
Earlier today home secretary James Cleverly announced the pay threshold for workers coming into the United Kingdom would be lifted from £26,200 to £38,700 in the spring.
He claimed the move – which is part of a raft of visa changes – will mean “around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would not have been able to do so”.
But the government has suggested this evening teachers will not be impacted by the measures, introduced to slash immigration.
The Home Office said: “Those coming on the health and care visa route will be exempted from the increase to the salary threshold for skilled worker visas, so we can continue to bring the healthcare workers that our care sector and NHS need, and we will exempt those on national pay scales, for example teachers.”
The types of teachers exempt from the threshold changes are those listed in the government’s national pay scales for eligible teaching and leadership roles. They include principals, leadership group members and those who are of unqualified and qualified status.
Meanwhile, the government has also more than doubled the minimum pay threshold for those looking to bring loved ones into the UK through the family visa route. It now stands at £38,700, having remained at £18,600 since 2012.
However, the Home Office stressed an exemption for teachers working in local authority-maintained schools and academies is expected to be included in the new rules.
Last week Stacey Singleton, the DfE’s deputy director for ITT reform, revealed the department is trying to “be on the front foot” to help teacher trainers deal with a huge influx of international applications.
She told the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers conference that a technical change meant “international candidates are only able to apply to courses that can offer visa sponsorship”.
Recruitment figures show a 323 per cent increase in applications from outside the UK and the European Economic Area so far this year. However, the number deemed suitable for an offer has increased just 61 per cent.
This followed the launch in September of a government pilot offering up to 400 overseas languages and physics teachers a £10,000 “relocation premium” to work in England.
It was first announced last year by then education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who argued the trial will help “attract the very best teachers across the world”.
The government also unveiled reforms to qualified teacher status in 2022 to make it “fairer and easier” for teachers trained overseas to work in English schools.
It said the move was part of a drive to ensure an “excellent teacher in every classroom”, with the main QTS application route to be widened to more countries by the end of 2023.
But Schools Week revealed last year the changes would fill only a sixth of the shortfall in EU recruits since Brexit.
Ministers have missed their secondary teacher recruitment targets for all but one of the past ten years. Last year, they fell 40 per cent short.