UK government finally published an over-delayed and long-expected immigration white paper on December 19, 2018, the divisions within the cabinet notwithstanding. The white paper states the UK’s immigration policy which will become effective after Brexit covers work rules for foreigners.
The over 160-posted white paper contained Sajid Javid, the UK’s Home Secretary’s plan to introduce a skill-based immigration system which will mark the end of the free movement. The white paper reveals that the UK will be using a new system for skilled workers and that this system will pay attention to talent and experience rather than nationality.
The Home Secretary said the new immigration route will open more opportunities for employers to get the skills they need from around the world while at the same time, maintaining the net migration into the country at a reduced, sustainable level.
The white paper states that migrants from EU countries will not get priority access to Britain’s job market and will all be subjected to same minimum salary threshold of £30,000 that other immigrants who have the UK Tier 2 visa are subjected to.
However, Philip Hammond, Greg Clark and Sajid Javid who are the country’s Chancellor, Business Secretary, and Home Secretary respectively, opposed the Prime Minister’s intention to apply across the board, the £30,000 minimum salary threshold.
They had been concerned about how the threshold will affect the country. They were worried that cutting down on the influx of immigrants into the country in such a sudden and dramatic manner, could have grievous effects on the economy.
Another visa route for low-skilled workers
Apart from the new visa system that will be focusing on skills and talents of applicants, the white paper also revealed plans for a temporary visa through which low-skilled workers can come work in the UK in their tens of thousands. This visa will have a 12-month validity, and the scheme will end in 2025.
As for international students in the UK, the white paper reveals the government’s intention to not place any caps on the number of international students coming to study in the country.
The paper also reveals plans to let those completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree to stay for an additional six months while those who completed a Ph.D. can remain for up to a year.
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