British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to put an end to low-skilled migrants moving to the UK by means of an Australian-style points system, which, Home Secretary Priti Patel said would bring “overall immigration down".
The Tories are planning to a distribute points based on a range of criteria that place people into three categories. The first is the so-called “fast-track entry” class, intended for entrepreneurs, investors, and highly-qualified employees that have been endorsed as recognised or emerging leaders.
The “fast-track” entry category won’t put any limitations on the number of people entering the country.
The second category includes skilled medical workers like doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who are coming to Britain on a confirmed job offer, with those eligible for an NHS visa likewise receiving fast-track entry and reduced fees.
The third category envisions sector-specific rules that would apply for low-skilled or unqualified workers to meet occasional labour market shortages, for instance seasonal agricultural workers.
All visas are expected to be limited in terms of time and allow in-country switching, with migrants required to pay a health surcharge for every year of their visa unless they gain settled status.
The Tories argued the scheme, which is to be adopted well beyond 2022, will instantly usher in a formal exchange programme with the Australian and Canadian governments to effectively share their best practices.
Priti Patel said the Tories would create a “fairer system” that would attract the “brightest and the best from around the world” while simultaneously lowering immigration.
There will also be a supervisory body – the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which would be required to produce an annual report to advise on how to lower overall immigration and boost the country’s productivity.
“The vote to leave the EU was a vote to take back control of our borders, and that is exactly what a Conservative majority government will do by getting Brexit done and ending freedom of movement", Patel contended adding that immigration will “finally be subject to democratic control".
Johnson has spoken out more than once against illegal and uncurbed immigration, as well as demanded that immigrants in the UK learn English because “there are too many parts of the country where it is not the first language".
With less than a week to go before the nation holds a snap vote to determine a new prime minister to finally deliver Brexit, the debate is heating up on post-exit legislation and ties with other states.
The size of the foreign-born population in the UK went up from about 5.3 million in 2004 to almost 9.3 million in 2018, according to the Migration Observatory that cites the Office for National Statistics. Poland, India, and Pakistan are the top three countries of birth for the foreign-born.
Proposals for a points-based system are not new. It has been 14 years since a Labour government first brought up the idea, but it has never been put to practice. The final results are believed to fully depend on the effectiveness of the Brexit process and whether people will continue to be free in their movements around the EU or not.