UK immigration policy under the new potential PM

Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have unveiled their prospective pledges on immigration and education. Mr Johnson has promised to deliver an Australian-style points-based immigration system if he were to become the prime minister, whilst Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt mentioned that he would cancel the tuition fee debts of young entrepreneurs who start businesses and recruit employees in the UK.

Boris, who might have failed to read up on the current PBS system, has called for an Australian-style-points-based system, considering factors including whether a migrant has a firm job offer before arrival and his/her ability to speak English. This is already in place over the Tier 2 scheme. Mr Johnson also said he would block the ability to claim benefits immediately when the migrant arrives in the UK. Apparently, Mr Johnson’s proposal intends to attract more high-skilled migrants such as scientists.

Under Mr Hunt’s new proposal, anyone who creates a new business which recruits more than 10 employees for five years would have their university tuition fee debts written off.

Will the minimum salary threshold be lower in the future?

On 17 June 2019, the Home Office announced that a new immigration system will be implemented in a phased approach from January 2021.

On 24 June 2019, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and other migration advisory committee reviewed and advised on salary thresholds for the future immigration system.

The Migration Advisory Committee previously recommended that the UK government should retain the existing minimum salary thresholds in the future immigration system, which includes paying experienced workers at least £30,000, and new entrants (including recent graduates) at least £20,800.

However, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to consider how future salary thresholds should be calculated, the levels of salary thresholds, whether there is a case for regional salary thresholds for different parts of the UK, and whether there should be exceptions to salary thresholds, for example because they’ve newly started the occupation or because they work in an occupation in shortage.

Mr Javid also mentioned that ‘It’s vital the new immigration system continues to attract talented people to grow our economy and support business while controlling our borders’.

The new immigration system will mark the end of free movement for EEA nationals and introduce a new route for skilled workers which favours experience and talent over nationality.

Future immigration system at a glance

Some of the proposals for the new system have been listing below:

  • A single, swift and fair immigration system: Businesses can hire talent from anywhere in the world through one single, skills-based system
  • No cap on the number of skilled workers who can come to the UK: removing 20700 quotas per year barriers for businesses who need overseas talent
  • A wider skills threshold for the first time, this means anyone with the equivalent of A levels will be eligible under the new system
  • Abolition of the resident labour market test for high skilled workers, following the independent Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, this outdated test will be removed to streamline the process
  • An all-digital sponsorship system reducing the burden on businesses: a quicker, easier, simpler system intended to reduce the time taken to bring overseas workers in to as little as 2-3 weeks
  • A transitional temporary work route allowing workers from low risk countries to come for a year and work at any skill level
  • Increased periods of time for international students to remain in the UK at the completion of their studies as this will give them more time to look for graduate roles


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