Under plans being drawn up by the Chancellor, George Osborne, up to about a quarter of a million migrant workers will pay tax for the first time, despite their earnings being below the £10,000 threshold reports the Telegraph.
The new rules would apply to people who are non-resident for tax purposes, i.e. in the country for fewer than six months in a tax year.
These people, that have been invited into the country by successive governments, will now be left with 20 percent less to live on than a UK worker in the same position earning less than the basic rate tax threshold.
This could raise some £400 million a year from up to 400,000 people.
So, all those temporary seasonal workers that are so essential (we are told), to keep our fruit growing industry alive for example, will now be discouraged from coming over – questionable benefit to tax take but bad for agriculture?
It could also have tax implications for others such as expats.
And lest you think that this is a UKIP supporter friendly move then I should point out that the UKIP immigration spokesman, Steven Woolfe, has roundly condemned the plan as a ‘breach of the essential idea of fair play and the rule of law’ saying:
"That Osborne is prepared to junk the basic principle of equality before the law in the case of migrant workers shows the depth to which this Government has sunk in its attempt to deal with its failures on migration. It is outrageous that they propose to make two people doing exactly the same job pay different tax rates".
"This is an attempt to penalise migrants, rather than accept that the failings of migration are their own fault. It is reminiscent of the monstrous "racist immigration vans" idea, in that it singles migrants out for differential and worse treatment. They cannot control our borders, due to our membership of the EU, that is the crux of the matter. But panicked by the rise of UKIP and the public's disquiet over mass inward migration, they punish the weakest.
"Sadly it is clear that the Government is one run by headlines, focus groups and policy panic, rather than by principle and British values.
"Fair play, equality and the rule of law are as alien to them as honesty about their impotence over migration itself"