Published: Thu, February 20, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Low-skilled workers denied visas under post-Brexit points-based immigration plan

Low-skilled workers denied visas under post-Brexit points-based immigration plan

LONDON-The U.K. government will curb the number of low-skilled migrants allowed into the country as part of a broad overhaul of its immigration policy following Brexit. They will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies.

"Today is a historic moment for the whole country", she said.

Starting next year, most people hoping to move long-term to Britain will need to speak English to a "required level" -the level of fluency is not specified -and have the offer of a job paying at least 25,600 pounds ($33,000) a year. The scheme means that visas will not be available to low-skilled migrant workers. The current youth mobility scheme that enables 20,000 young people to come into the United Kingdom each year will also remain in place.

"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 were expecting this government finally to deliver on their long-standing promises to reduce immigration and show belief in young Brits, rather than giving in to the demands of bosses", he concluded.

However others have already hit out at the new immigration system.

It will mark a sea change for businesses who have grown used to having access to a large pool of European Union workers, particularly since 2004 when the accession of several former communist states in central and eastern Europe saw a big influx of migrants coming to Britain to work.

Representatives of the social care, hospitality and food industries were among those quick to criticize the new system. This includes specific job skills, and spoken English abilities.

"We need people. That's the bottom line".

Employers have until January 1 to meet the requirements and ensure their staff have a right to work in the UK.

"These plans spell absolute disaster for the care sector", said Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea.

Britain unveils points-based immigration plan

This comes after LBC's Nick Ferrari challenged the Home Secretary over immigration plans.

"CFG-commissioned research has found that the majority of migrant workers in the charity sector are employed in either social or residential care".

Gillian McKearney, head of UK Immigration at Fieldfisher, said the announcement confirmed many employers' fears that the UK government was not planning to introduce temporary routes for low-skilled workers.

Nick Triggle, BBC's health correspondent, noted that foreign workers now make up one-sixth of the 840,000-strong care worker workforce in England. The Confederation of British Industry warned that the tightened restrictions on European Union migrants could hurt industries including the construction, hospitality, food and drink sectors.

Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "This isn't an "Australian points-based system", which is a meaningless government soundbite". Opposition Labour Party said the "hostile environment" will make it hard to attract workers. "It needs to go".

A plan for a "Scottish visa" proposed by Nicola Sturgeon earlier this year was dismissed within hours by Downing Street.

Sturgeon further called for Scots' own immigration matters to be held by Holyrood, Scotland's parliament, due to Scotland's falling birth rate and aging demographics. Points will be assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions with the aim being to attract those from across the globe with the highest skills.

"In that case it's s highly likely that these vulnerable people will end up in hospital when that is probably the worst possible place for them to be, leading to even more bed blocking".

Fragomen, a British immigration law firm, asked the government to reconsider. "Please make the system cheaper - it is just ridiculously expensive", said Ian Robinson, a partner at Fragomen and a former policy official at the Home Office.

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