New income rules for expat workers in UK could see New Zealanders deported

Workers who fail to prove they earn above the threshold could be told to leave.

Workers who fail to prove they earn above the threshold could be told to leave.

Everyone wants a payrise, but there's a sense of urgency for expats in the United Kingdom, with new rules requiring them to earn more than $76,000 a year, or leave the country.

Migrants from outside of the European Union will have to prove they earn more than £35,000 (NZ$76,440) after living in the UK for five years.

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If they can't show proof, they could face deportation.

New Zealanders in the UK on a two-year working holiday visa, an ancestry visa, or those classed as skilled workers were unlikely to be affected.

READ MORE: Adjust your expectations about working in London

But a small number may be affected by the new rule, which comes into effect in April.

Britons accused the government of targeting minority workers with the rules, with concerns the National Health Service would be put at risk, due to the numbers of migrant nurses filling skills shortages - but earning below the threshold.

More than 68,000 people have signed a petition, urging the British government to scrap the change.

"This ridiculous measure is only going to affect 40,000 people who have already been living and working in the UK for 5 years, contributing to our culture and economy," the petition said.

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Organisers say the rule unfairly discriminates against charity workers, nurses, students and others unable to meet the "unreasonably high threshold".

"It will drive more workers from the NHS and people from their families. This empty gesture will barely affect the immigration statistics. It's a waste of time, money and lives."

The British government is required to respond to the petition, because more than 10,000 signatures have been collected. If the signatures top 100,000, a debate will be held in Parliament.

 - Stuff

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