Non-English Speakers And Unskilled Workers To No Longer Have Visa Routes
The Government has announced a controversial new points-based immigration system which eliminates categories for temporary, self-employed and low-skilled workers coming to the UK.
The Home Office has today released details of the proposed new points-based immigration system that will be introduced when free movement of workers from the European Union ends on 31 December 2020. After this date, there will be a single immigration system for all EU and Non-EU citizens.
Skilled workers will still need a job offer, English language skills and to be working at or above a certain skill level, which is to be reduced from Level 6 (degree) to Level 3 (A-level).
There will still be a minimum salary required for a work visa. The minimum salary threshold has been reduced to £25,600 But it will no longer be the absolute minimum: some workers earning between £20,480 and £25,600 will still be able to get a visa, but only if they are highly qualified or working in jobs in a shortage occupation.
Crucially, there will no longer be a general low-skilled or temporary work route. The government states “we need to shift the focus of our economy away from a reliance on cheap labour from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation”.
Immigration experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell say the fact that there has been a near unanimous uproar from a number of sector representative bodies suggests that the policy will be sailing into stormy waters.
Expert Opinion“The Government has touted its points-based immigration system for many months now as a fix to all of the supposed immigration problems in the UK, but this new system simply creates a whole host of new issues.
“Quite how the care, health, hospitality and transport sectors - to name a few - will be able to replace low skilled workers with apps and robots remains to be seen, given it will take several years to fill these gaps.”
“This is just the first stage in the plans for a points-based system and the Home Office has said it will continue to refine it; the key is to balance fairness without adding complexity, or risk creating huge backlogs for talented people wishing to come to the UK.” Philip Barth - Partner
For the time being, until employers have “invested in staff retention, productivity, and wider investment in technology and automation”, the Home Office say that the existing pool of EU citizens who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme and are able to stay and work after 31 December 2020, will “provide employers with flexibility to meet labour market demands”.
For the agriculture sector the Home Office are expanding the quota under the pilot scheme for seasonal workers four-fold to 10,000.