After the Conservative Party won a large majority in the last Thursday general election, a fresh mandate arose for its policy of an “Australian-style points-based system” for immigration to be introduced. The party manifesto has laid down the overview of that system without giving away too many details on how it would operate.
Before the general election, a number of media stories emerged stating that the Conservatives had “published” or “set out” more details of their plan for the so-called Australian-style points-based system. Despite the information made available to few journalists, there was no document published for voters to read. The plan was circulated by email to selected journalists, meaning that those interested in the detail could only read second-hand accounts.
Mann’s Solutions managed to obtain a copy of it and we now reproduce it in full. Beneath the political spin is the governing party’s most detailed account of its plans for the immigration system since last year’s white paper.
Three categories are described in the document, to be introduced after Brexit. The first one, called “exceptional talent/contribution”, sees some tweaks to an existing category that had already been announced. This category incorporates entrepreneur and investment visas — so Tier 1, as we call this category today, rebranded but essentially unchanged.
The second is “skilled workers”, what it is known today as Tier 2. It is understood that a great deal of these visas would require a job offer, which is in line with how work visas for non-EU citizens are allocated now, but of course would be a big change for European citizens who would eventually come under this regime with the end of free movement. It is also unlike the Australian points-based visas that the system is supposedly modelled on, which do not require a job offer. That will fuel suspicion that the Australian comparison is merely a branding exercise.
“Sector-specific rules-based” is the third category. This is dubbed to be the replacement of free movement of labour from Europe with state planning, outsourced to the Migration Advisory Committee. That will be the government’s attempt to match the demand for workers in specific sectors with enough visas to supply that demand — a task so fraught with difficulty in the real world that the Home Office will not touch it with a bargepole, instead offloading it to the MAC. The MAC’s expanded role will also include the thankless remit of, simultaneously, “lowering overall immigration” and “meeting the needs of the UK’s economy”.
Many of the ideas in the document are well known to the public. Though the governing one — to end free movement of workers from the European Union — suffices to make it radical. But the plan only covers economic migration. The Conservative manifesto envisages that the often-ugly status quo will persist in many other areas of the immigration system: a “compliant environment” of citizen-on-citizen document checking, restrictive rules on visas for spouses and elderly relatives, sky-high fees and a creaking asylum system. The manifesto also heralds an attack on judicial review, which with the erosion of appeal rights in immigration cases represents a more important tool than ever for vindicating the rights of migrants.
Mann’s Solutions is international immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and St Petersburg and has expertise in offering UK Visas & Immigration by Investment services to our clients.
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