potential migrants will have to score 70 points.
The UK government has revealed a new immigration system and details have revealed that it will be points-based.
The system is set to come into force on January 1, 2021.
Home Secretary Priti Patel called the new scheme a “historic moment” following Britain’s exit from the EU. This will bring the bloc’s free movement rules in the UK to an end.
The government has said that the new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract those who can contribute to the UK’s economy.
Priti said: “We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”
However, some have said the new immigration system could be an “absolute disaster” for the social care sector and there are “serious concerns” about the impact on farming.
In order to qualify for a visa, potential migrants will have to score 70 points. At least 50 points must come from three conditions which are:
- A job offer from an approved sponsor, such as an employer cleared by the Home Office. This will earn 20 points.
- Have a job offer that is at a “required skill level”. This will earn 20 points.
- The ability to speak English at a certain level. This will earn 10 points.
When the new system is implemented, the minimum salary requirement for migrants will be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600.
If migrants earn more than the threshold, they will gain an extra 20 points which will get them to the required 70-point threshold.
If migrants earn less than this but more than £20,480, they may still be able to come to the UK by “trading” points earned on specific characteristics.
As well as lowering the minimum salary requirement, the government has also decided to lower what counts as “skilled” from a graduate-level to an A-level qualified job.
Migrants who meet the three compulsory conditions but earn less than £25,6000 can still earn 70 points. They will be given 10 points if they earn between £23,040 to £25,599.
Migrants in a job where there are staff shortages will earn 20 points.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) includes healthcare workers, engineers, scientists, teachers and tech workers as occupations where there are shortages.
The government also promises a fast-track visa scheme for foreign doctors and nurses to work in the NHS as part of the immigration system changes.
Applicants coming to work in the NHS will receive preferential treatment with extra points under the new system. There will also be no limit on numbers entering through the NHS route.
An extra 10 points will be given to migrants who hold a PhD in a subject relevant to their job.
This becomes 20 points if the PhD is in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is relevant to their job.
Highly-skilled workers who can achieve the required threshold will be able to enter the UK without a job offer under the condition that they are endorsed by a relevant and competent body.
From January 2021, this “Global Talent” route will be opened to EU citizens on the same basis as non-EU citizens. Recently, it was expanded to be more accessible to those with a background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
On the other hand, lower-skilled workers will be denied by visas.
Instead, the government is telling UK businesses they will need to “adapt and adjust” and to invest in “staff retention, productivity, and wider investment in technology and automation”.
This is a concern for the farming industry as a crackdown on low-skilled workers could leave without enough staff to pick their crops.
However, the government is committed to expanding a pilot scheme for seasonal farmers to be increased in size to 10,000 places.
Students will also need to achieve the required points if they have an offer from an approved university, can speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies.
While freelancers do not have a dedicated immigration route, they have been directed to go through the existing “innovators” route.
This will be expanded in order for it to apply to EU citizens as well as non-EU citizens.
Migrants with a specialist occupation will also be allowed to enter the UK under various existing immigration rules.
Overseas entertainers will continue to be allowed to perform for up to six months.