It is widely anticipated that the Government will this week bring forward its plans to press ahead with an Australian-style points-based system for immigration notwithstanding the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the body which advises the Government on immigration matters, advising that a points-based system was “cosmetic” and “pointless” for all but the most highly skilled migrants.
Under the new proposals, prospective applicants will get points for:
Points will also be available for candidates seeking to work in areas of recognised skills shortage.
The MAC report urged the government not to repeat the “mistake” of the previous Labour government’s points-based system which proved “ineffective and overly complex” for most migrants.
Senior Government figures have also apparently accepted the MAC’s recommendation to cut the minimum salary threshold for skilled migrants from £30,000 to £25,600 after employers complained that the proposed £30,000 minimum would exclude staff in vital but relatively poorly paid roles.
The commitment to introduce a replacement for the existing points-based system follows through on a Conservative manifesto promise.
Details of the scheme are expected to be approved by cabinet on Friday and made public thereafter. Future reforms to the scheme are expected to allow positive and negative points to be awarded for age, a willingness to work outside London, and a record of education in the UK.
Short-term visas could also be introduced in response to shortages of low-skilled workers in specific sectors like care or construction.
The new system which will take effect on 1 January 2021 is aimed at reducing low-skilled immigration and plugging the skills shortages anticipated as a result of the loss of free movement rights of EU workers.
Significant change is afoot. If you require assistance with UK immigration, please contact us at RLegal Solicitors. We’re here to help.