What impact will the new PM have on immigration?

On 23 July 2019, Mr Boris Johnson was elected Leader of the Conservative Party and as of 24 July 2019 he has officially replaced Mrs Theresa May as Prime Minister.

A brief summary of Boris Johnson’s political career:

  • 7 years as MP for Henley (2001-2008)
  • 8 years as Mayor of London (2008-2016)
  • 4 years as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (2015-2019)
  • 2 years as Foreign Secretary (2016-2018)


What is the new PM’s immigration plan?

Boris Johnson has promised to introduce an immigration system modelled on the Australian points based one. In short, Australia awards points to prospective skilled migrants on the basis of age, English-language skills, employment record and qualifications.

Mr Johnson also stated that he would block the ability of migrants to claim benefits and that his proposals intend to attract more high-skilled migrants.

However, Mr Boris Johnson seems not to be fully up-to-speed with the current UK Points-Based System (PBS), which bears a striking resemblance to the Australian one as it takes into consideration factors such as a concrete job offer prior to a migrant’s relocation to the UK, proficiency in English as well as skills level of the job on offer and salary under the Tier 2 scheme. The Points-Based System (PBS) allows migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to come to the UK in order to work, study and/or invest or set up a business etc. Non-EEA nationals are eligible to reside in the UK if they score the required threshold of points. The main visa categories of PBS include Tier 1 (Investor), Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer), Tier 4 (General) Student as well as Tier 5 (Temporary Worker).

Mr Johnson has given his support in favour of the re-introduction of the Post-Study Work (PSW) visa in order to attract a higher number of international students. Prior to 2012, overseas students were allowed to work for two years after their graduation. Finally, the new PM has mentioned that the UK Government must ensure that EU nationals’ rights are protected post Brexit. However, in practise the level of protection might very much depend on the future talks he is going to have with his ‘EU friends’.

Future immigration system at a glance

In December 2018, the White Paper provided a platform for discussion with private, public and voluntary sector employers, as well as industry representatives. The White Paper proposals followed the recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC):

  • A single, swift and fair immigration system: businesses should be able to hire talent from anywhere through one single, skills-based system
  • No cap on the number of skilled workers removing the 20700 quota per year
  • A wider skills threshold
  • Abolition of the resident labour market test
  • 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
  • A transitional temporary work route allowing workers from low risk countries to come for a year and work at any skill level


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