Would the Australian Points Based System be right for Britain?

December 11, 2014

An assessment released today by Migration Watch UK concludes that it would be totally unsuitable for the UK.

The Australian immigration system is highly regarded because the Australians have achieved effective control of their borders and they can also identify and accurately record those who arrive and depart. Neither depend on their Points Based System (PBS).

The Australian context could hardly be more different. Many Australians believe that they have a strategic need to grow and have the space to do so. Both major parties favour increased legal migration and their PBS is a means to that end. (Public debate is mainly about how to handle asylum seekers arriving by boat.) Furthermore, net immigration to Australia is proportionately three times higher than ours as the Australian Government pursue their strategy of population growth through immigration.

In the UK, we face very different geographical and political circumstances. This became apparent when the last Labour Government attempted a version of a Points Based System. It led to chaos from which the Home Office have been trying to recover for four years. One of the main problems was that it almost eliminated the element of human judgement (and was intended to do so). In practice, this turned out to be hopeless as the circumstances of each case are much too varied and complex for a box ticking system to work.

Sure enough, the Australian system turned out, on examination, to be very complex yet it covers only 60% of skilled work migration and 15% of all migrants. It applies only to job seekers as employers have a different route.

Commenting on the report, Alp Mehmet, Vice-Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

"A Points Based System might suit the Australians who are trying to increase their population but, in fact, it is extremely complex and would be a non-starter for the UK. Yet another re-hash of such a system would be a disaster. What we need are a visa system and border checks that work and the resources required for enforcement."

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