The Government has finally published its much delayed White Paper on immigration. Part of the reason for the delay is that the Cabinet is still highly divided on the policy .Under the new proposed Post Brexit immigration rules tens and thousands of low skilled migrants will be able to come to the UK to work for a year. This new rule which should last until 2025 is made with the intention of protecting parts of the economy which is more reliant on overseas labour.
Sajid Javid the Home Secretary has said this new system will be based on the UK’s needs rather then where migrants are from which shows that the UK is open for business.
Unveiling what he said would be the biggest shake-up of immigration policy for 40 years, Mr Javid said that while there was no “specific target” for reducing numbers coming into the UK, net migration would come down to “sustainable levels”.
The much-delayed White Paper – a document setting out proposed new laws before they are formalised in a government bill – also includes:
- Scrapping the current cap on the number of skilled workers such as doctors or engineers from the EU and elsewhere
- A consultation on a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas
- Visitors from the EU will not need visas
- Plans to phase in the new system from 2021
The proposals are set out to control the borders and “deliver on the clear instruction” of the British people when they voted out too leave the EU. The end of free movement from Europe is a key part of Mrs May’s Brexit deal although a replacement system is still needed and expected after post Brexit trade talks.
Migrants who come will have to pay a fee for the visa and would be barred from bringing relatives and would not be able to access benefits of healthcare. The also will not need a guaranteed job or to be sponsored by a company either.
The scheme is designed to fill vacancies in sectors such as construction and social care which are heavily dependent on EU labour and which ministers fear could struggle to adapt when free movement ends.
There will be a “cooling off period” after a year, meaning people will be expected to leave at that point and not to apply again for a further 12 months.
Campaigners for lower migration are shocked by the plans despite the fact that the government has said they reserve the right to tighten the criteria or impose numerical caps prior to a review in 2025. The migration watch has stressed there was no was way of making sure people left after a year and immigration figures could become distorted due to this.
“It is shocking that the government should have caved in so completely to the demands of industry while ignoring the strong public desire to get immigration down,” said its chair Lord Green.
“The chief winners will be business, as they exploit the bonanza of a huge new pool of labour from around the world while continuing to avoid their responsibility to the public to recruit and train up local talent.”