Impact of a Conservative majority on UK Immigration
The result of the last general election in the United Kingdom means that its immigration law is predicted to change over the upcoming months.
According to the news, it is almost certainly official that Brexit will be done by the end of January 2020, leading to a transitional period that is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020, although this could be extended by mutual agreement between the EU and UK.
Boris Johnson gave a brief overview of the outline of the new scheme ahead of the election and made it clear about the Conservatives’ desire to introduce a new “Australian-style points-based system” once free movement ends.
Boris Johnson stated that there will be an “expert implementation group” appointed to ensure the adequate application of the new immigration system from January 2021. This is based on the core principle that the government will be in control of the new immigration system that will be introduced.
Regarding the different visas categories to be introduced by the new system, the UK prime minister states that there will be the following new categories:
• ‘Exceptional talent/contribution’ – which is for highly educated migrants that have received world-leading awards or demonstrated exceptional talent, sponsored entrepreneurs setting up a new business or investors. These will be exempt from having a job offer and will receive fast-track entry.
• ‘Skilled workers’ – which is for workers that meet the criteria of the points-based system and have a confirmed job offer. For special cases such as working for the NHS, they will receive fast-track entry and reduced fees.
• ‘Sector-specific rules-based’ – will be made up of specific temporary schemes such as for low-skilled labour, youth mobility or short-term visits (e.g., touring). These will be revised on an ongoing basis based on expert advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). These visas will be time-limited and will not provide a path to settlement.
The exceptional talent route will have no limit on numbers and will have an accelerated path to settlement (after three years rather than five).
The UK prime minister stated that the skilled workers category will prioritise “those who can add the most to our economy and society, wherever they are from.” He added that the sponsorship process will be sped up in order to reduce the time it takes to bring in migrant workers to “meet labour market demands” which will reduce the burden on individuals and businesses. Currently, the process for a general work visa under Tier 2 can take approximately 8-20 weeks.
In addition, Boris Johnson stated that confirmed job offers will confer extra points and that the employer sponsorship will remain a key requirement for most migrants. This aligns with the belief that employers are best placed to determine which skills are required for their business, as well as to prevent abuse of the UK immigration system.
The MAC will recommend annually on whether caps are needed based on whether there are shortages or an excess of migration via this skilled worker category.
Regarding administration, The Sunday Times has reported that Boris Johnson has plans for radical changes to a number of government departments, including setting up a new department for borders and immigration that will be independent from Home Office. The shift is intended to improve security and the operation of the visa system after Brexit.
Critics believe that the new department’s focus is likely to be on limiting numbers and fear this will mean an expansion of the structural reach of the ‘hostile environment’.
For example, Omar Khan, director of the Runnymede Trust, argued that taking immigration responsibility out of the Home Office would, in theory, be a good thing, but warned that a department’s culture is “driven partly by its aims and objects, and driving numbers down is quite clearly going to be the focus of this immigration department.”
Joe Owens, on the other hand, believes that there can be two outcomes with the best one being a well-planned move which addresses some of the structural issues in the way the Home Office currently works. The worst case is that the exact same system, structure, and ethic being put into a new department leading to no changes made but simply a relocation.
Should you wish to discuss your immigration matter please do not hesitate to contact our professional team of immigration lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/.