New Points Based System for UK after Brexit

What will a new Australian system points system look like post Brexit?

What would a new points-based UK immigration system look like?

Since the run-up to the EU referendum, there has been talk of before and during of introducing an Australian points style immigration system to the UK. Now the UK is set to invoke article 50 in the next 6 months we can expect the UK Immigration system to go through a major overhaul. Many have favoured the Australian-style system that awards points for those with high levels of skills that would be useful to a prosperous economy. The UK has seen some of the best growth in the Eurozone and is one of the world’s largest economies, therefore being able to attract the brightest and the best is a crucial element to this growth.

The Home Office have used the term brightest and the best before to talk about attracting skilled workers, but never implemented this plan. Part of the reason for this was that there was a strong and steady supply of high-skilled workers from within the EU. Now the UK is heading out of the EU, the new UK immigration minister will need to ensure the new immigration policies reflects the UK’s economic needs. The new rules will need to be able to adapt quickly to market changes and allow those that the UK requires to be able to enter quickly and effortlessly. The current Tier 2 system can create delays of over 3 months if an employer finds they require someone from overseas. The burden should be taken away from the employer with a transparent points system in place.

Points based system

New High Skilled Categories for UK Immigration

The UK currently only has 2 main high-skilled visa categories which are Tier 1 Investor and Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa categories. Although these are extremely valuable to the UK, they do not represent the majority of highly skilled workers. With a minimum entrance of £200,000 for a high-skilled visa currently, this route is not what the UK high skilled system should look like. Previously there was an excellent choice called the Tier 1 General which closed down in 2011. This route provided a way for those with a combination of degree qualifications, earnings, and English language ability to come and work in the UK. It was a fantastic option for Doctors, Engineers, finance workers, nurses and many more, to be able to work and live in the UK.

A new version of the previous Tier 1 general visa would be a great start for the new points-based immigration system. In previous years the Home Office hinted that the Tier 1 General visa was closed down due to the ability for people to abuse the system. This mostly came from self-employed and limited company setups. If the new system was based on salary only for income points and possibly more rigid to avoid abuse, it would form the basis of a great immigration platform. Getting the new high-skilled visa right the first time is vital to ensure a strong flow of skilled workers post-Brexit. A reintroduction of this visa is required and should be introduced with the new immigration system.

“The Home Office could overhaul and reintroduce the old Tier 1 General visa”

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What about low skilled workers? Will they have a place in the new points based system?

When the current UK points based system was introduced it had a Tier 3 visa category. This was created, but never used. It was designed to create a visa category for those who have skills classed below degree level. This could include farm workers, fishermen, hair dressers, paralegals etc. With the UK not able to avail of the large low-skilled workforce within the EU, they will have to consider opening up the Tier 3 visa system. This will fill the shortage for the low skills workers in the UK and keep UK businesses going through the seasonal periods. It may be that this visa doesn’t allow a migrant to settle in the UK, but permits a worker to renew their permission each year.

"Introducing the Tier 3 visa will provide a way for UK businesses to employ season and low skilled workers"

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