Government's Post-Brexit immigration plan


February 19, 2020

Dr Ben Greening, Executive Director of Migration Watch UK, said:

Ending unskilled immigration would be a real victory for the British public and the British economy. However, these proposals suggest that the government is not serious about taking control of immigration. Not only will millions of UK workers see their jobs opened up to new or greater competition from overseas workers from much poorer countries but employers will no longer have to look to find anyone at home before searching abroad.

The main safeguard of a suitable pay threshold will be significantly lowered, with an added loophole that so-called 'new entrants' - who might be workers with a decade of experience - could be paid little more than the UK minimum wage.

With no cap on numbers coming via the main route from the outset, this is a massive risk that will alarm the 30 million people who want the government to reduce immigration and show belief in young Brits, rather than giving in to the demands of bosses.

Key points of the government's proposals

  • Non-EU / EU citizens to be treated equally after free movement ends on 31 December.
  • All migrants only to be entitled to access income-related benefits until after indefinite leave to remain is granted, usually after five years.
  • Applicants for skilled visas would have to speak English and have a job offer. They would be awarded 50 points if they fulfil these criteria.
  • In total, immigrants would have to reach 70 points to be able to work in the UK, with points also being awarded for qualifications, the salary on offer and working in a sector with shortages.
  • Applicants will be able to ‘trade’ characteristics such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a lower salary
  • Main salary threshold for skilled workers wanting to come to the UK would be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600
  • There would be an even lower salary threshold for shortage occupations e.g. above £20,480 for those with a job in a "specific shortage occupation".
  • For labour market entrants e.g. those under 26 or switching to work from a study visa, the threshold will be about £18,000 per year, barely above the minimum wage.
  • There will be no regional variation of salary thresholds
  • The new system would involve the removal of current annual limit (cap) on work permits, with a proviso that govt will reintroduce it if these changes fail to bring numbers down.
  • Definition of skilled workers now to be diluted to include those educated at A-level, not just at graduate level (as now). So this category will now include carpenters, plasterers and childminders, but not waiting staff, hospital porters or carers.
Read more details about the government's proposed points-based immigration system.

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