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Future of UK immigration: Are we in for a complete makeover?

04 February 2012

In recent press releases, Damian Green, the immigration minister, has announced that the UK Government is planning to give the current British immigration system a complete makeover to attract fewer but better qualified migrants to live and work in the UK.  In particular, preferential treatment should be given to migrants who can contribute capital, skills and brain to the UK.

Thus, according to the minister, the UK needs to implement a more selective visa system arguing that "what we need is a system that... goes out to seek those people who are either going to create jobs or wealth or add to the high level artistic and cultural aspirations we have".  As a result, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) might reintroduce a form of UK visa category to select talented young professionals or individuals who have a track record in generating growth and business to boost the economic recovery. The government will also improve the system for some short-term business visitors and entertainers to ensure world-class performers are encouraged to come here. Of course, the sceptics amongst us, might argue that in light of the 2012 Olympic games, this could simply be a short–term fix to make the country more amenable to recognized artists, athletes and performers with the aim to raise the UK profile.

The government is also keen on reducing the number of immigrants by introducing tougher measures to remove illegal migrants and catch people breaking  the rules. On the agenda, however, there are also new changes that might make it harder to sponsor spouses or partners of British citizens and person settled in the UK with the introduction of a salary threshold and higher level of English language. As a result, the government will soon be announcing further changes to the  family migration and reforms to the UK settlement such as breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration and reviewing the annual limit on Tier 2/ work permit.

In his speech the Minister added that the 'points based system' of the past should ultimately be replaced by a 'contribution-based system' whereby migrants are checked to ensure they will add to quality of life in the UK. The Minister has also announced the introduction of a new route for international graduate entrepreneurs - international students who have engaged in innovative entrepreneurial activity during their studies and want to stay on afterwards to develop their business ideas.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.