The Government has unveiled its plans for its border controls following our exit from the EU which will see the ending of unskilled workers being able to enter the country to work.
The new points system will exclude anybody coming to the country to earn less than £25,000 as the new Australian points system will say the Government, end the era of cheap imported Labour responding to the message from the public in the 2016 referendum.
It will assign points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions and visas will only be awarded to those who gain enough points.
Under the new system, hopefuls will need 70 points to be eligible to apply, with migrants able to come to Britain as long as they can speak good English (10 points), have a job offer from an approved sponsor (20 points) at the appropriate skill grade of A-level or above (20 points) and which pays at least £25,600 a year (20 points) or £20,480 for an occupation with staff shortages like nursing (20 points). People could also come with a job offer at £20,480 if they have a PhD relevant to the job (10 points) or in a STEM subject relevant to the job (20 points)
The new single global system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. It will give top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, engineers and academics.
The global talent scheme will also be opened up to EU citizens which will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.
The new points-based system will also expand the skills threshold for skilled workers. Those looking to live and work in the UK will now need to be qualified up to A level or equivalent, rather than degree level under the current system. This will provide greater flexibility and ensure UK business has access to a wide pool of skilled workers.
In line with the government’s manifesto commitment there will be no specific route for low-skilled workers. It is estimated 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which will help to bring overall numbers down in future.
Student visa routes will also be points-based and be opened up to EU citizens, ensuring talent from around the globe has access to the UK’s world-class universities. Those wishing to study in the UK will need to demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, that they can support themselves financially and that they speak English.
In addition, the seasonal workers pilot will also be expanded in time for the 2020 harvest from 2,500 to 10,000 places, responding to the specific temporary requirements of the agricultural sector.
EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. However, the use of national identity cards will be phased out for travel to the UK and the Home Office will set out our plans in due course.
“ This isn’t an ‘Australian points-based system’, which is a meaningless government soundbite” said Dianne Abbott Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary,
“It’s a salary threshold system, which will need to have so many exemptions, for the NHS, for social care and many parts of the private sector, that it will be meaningless.
“Just as important is what rights will be attached to these visas. If families are split up because spouses and children are denied entry, this will be terrible for them and will deter many of the workers we need. If they are all short-term visas only the most desperate workers will come, and will have the effect of creating a two-tier workforce.
“Ultimately, it will also be very difficult to attract the workers we need at all skill levels while the Tories’ hostile environment is in place. It needs to go. Labour will be pressing hard on all these points as the legislation proceeds.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“Getting a new immigration system right on day one will be critical for economic growth and the UK’s global reputation as it forges a new path outside the EU.
“Firms recognise and accept that freedom of movement is ending, and have sought a system that is both open and controlled, valuing people’s contribution beyond their salary while retaining public confidence.
“Several aspects of the new system will be welcomed by business, particularly abolishing the cap on skilled visas, introducing a new post-study work visa for overseas students, and reducing the minimum salary threshold from £30,000.
“Nonetheless, in some sectors firms will be left wondering how they will recruit the people needed to run their businesses. With already low unemployment, firms in care, construction, hospitality, food and drink could be most affected.
“Firms know that hiring from overseas and investing in the skills of their workforce and new technologies is not an ‘either or’ choice – both are needed to drive the economy forward.
“So careful implementation across all UK nations and regions will be required. A regularly reviewed shortage occupations list, with promises of further flexibility, will be vital for the effectiveness of the new system. Above all, the government must work with employers and employees – especially smaller firms – to ensure they have the time to adapt to new policies and practices.”
Tom Ironside, Director of Business and Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Retailers rely on complex supply chains and for these to function effectively must be able to access an adequate supply of workers. Although we welcome the reduction in the salary threshold, it is disappointing that the Government has not understood the needs of the economy and the vital contribution of workers supporting the operation of warehouses, food factories and city centre stores. When vacancies cannot be filled from the local labour market, businesses must be able to recruit from the widest talent pool available across all skill levels.
“We continue to call for a system that enables straight-forward recruitment from a range of skill levels and avoids significant increases to the cost of employment.”