People who are considered to be “low-skilled” by the government will not be granted a visa under its immigration plans after Brexit.
The government plans to introduce a point-based system that would require prospective immigrants to secure 70 points before a visa is granted by securing a job offer, speaking English, receiving a job offer in an industry suffering a skills shortage and holding a PhD in STEM subjects, among others.
There has been strong opposition and criticism of the plans with the salary threshold for ‘skilled jobs’ set at £25,600. Critics have argued that the plans suggest to the British public that nurses (£24.2k), paramedic (£24.2k), midwives (£24.2k), radiographers (£24.2k), care assistants (£17.6k), physiotherapists (£24.2k) occupational therapists (£24.2k) and more are considered unskilled jobs.
Home secretary Priti Patel said the new system would ensure “the brightest and the best” come to the UK. Speaking to the BBC, she said it would “encourage people with the right talent” and “reduce the levels of people coming to the UK with low skills”.
“It is important employers move away from a reliance on the UK’s immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity and wider investment in technology and automation,” the government said.
Business lobby group, CBI, welcomed some of the proposals, but warned that some employers would be “left wondering how they will recruit the people needed to run their businesses”.
CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, said: “Firms know that hiring from overseas and investing in the skills of their workforce and new technologies is not an ‘either or’ choice – both are needed to drive the economy forward.”
Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said the plans “spell absolute disaster for the care sector”. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Madeleine Sumption, director of the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, said: “Some employers will be able to adjust [to the system] maybe by introducing more labour-saving techniques, such as machinery.
“In some cases that won’t be feasible and for them the questions are: can they find other sources of workers; will they produce less, or will they go out of business?”