BEERG: Details of New UK Immigration Scheme Revealed

February 21, 2020

As the UK prepares to close its borders following Brexit, the government published an immigration scheme featuring an “Australian-style” points system for admitting skilled workers.

A briefing document outlining the new immigration policy states:

  • UK borders will be closed to non-skilled workers, and all migrants will have to speak English.

  • Anyone wanting to come to the UK to work must have a job offer with a salary threshold of £25,600—though a salary “floor” of £20,480 will be acceptable in special cases where there might be a skills shortage, such as in nursing.

  • There will be no route for self-employed people coming into the UK, spelling the end to, for example, Polish plumbers or Romanian builders arriving without a job.

  • Border control will no longer accept ID cards from countries such as France and Italy.  This, it is understood, is an attempt to clamp down on non-EU workers beating the system with forged or stolen ID cards.

  • The skills threshold for foreign nationals wanting to work in the UK will be lowered from degree to A-levels or their equivalent.  The cap on the numbers of skilled workers is being scrapped—and a small number of highly skilled workers will be allowed to come in without a job.

The new policy drew immediate criticism from employers, according to the BEERG Global Labor Newsletter, particularly over the addition of waiters, waitresses and “elementary” agriculture and fishery workers to the list of low-skilled workers.  Tom Hadley, director of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: “Jobs the government considers ‘low-skilled’ are vital to wellbeing and business growth.  The announcement threatens to shut out the people we need to provide services the public rely on.  We need access to workers that can help us look after the elderly, build homes, and keep the economy strong.”

Read the full BEERG Global Labor Newsletter.