By Morgan Perry
The Home Office has provided more detail about its intended implementation of a points-based immigration system but has come under fire since it excludes those in social care jobs.
Due to come into place at the end of the Brexit transition period, the new system will award extended visas in line with a number of key requirements. Applicants will score extra points for speaking English or holding a doctorate-level degree.
Those who do not achieve the minimum number of points required (seventy points) will not be provided with visas. Australia and Canada already have similar systems.
Skilled or unskilled?
Several “routes”, outlined by the Government, will determine how applicants can gain the required 70 points. Said routes include “skilled workers”, “global talent” and the “student route”.
The points required, and the ways in which these can be achieved, vary. Those who do not meet the requirements will not be approved for extended work visas.
For example, “skilled workers” must hold fifty mandatory points (which they gain with a job offer from an approved employer, hold a job at the appropriate level, and an intermediate understanding of English), as well as twenty “tradable” points.
More tradable points can be gained by those with a Ph.D. degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, and additional points will be allocated relative to a worker’s salary.
Those wishing to apply for the “skilled workers” route face additional barriers, however. Jobs must appear in the extensive lists published by the Government to qualify. There are also additional costs for applicants, with fees costing up to £1,220 for those applying for a “skilled workers” visa lasting more than three years.
No room for social care
However, the new plans, which were released by the Government in the form of a one-hundred-and-thirty-page document on Monday, have come under fire from opposition parties. This is mainly because the “health and care” route currently outlined by the Government does not entitle social care workers entry to the UK.
The latest figures show there are reported to be more than 100,000 social care vacancies in care and residential homes across the UK, leading to concerns that these vacancies will continue to go unfilled. It also comes at a time when Boris Johnson has promised to “invest more in training and development for care workers”.
The Liberal Democrats called the move “absolutely outrageous”.
This move is utterly outrageous.
Priti Patel might consider social care workers to be unskilled, but the coronavirus pandemic reminds us they are anything but. https://t.co/UpKg8Bo7n5
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) July 13, 2020
The Government hopes that the “health and care” route will provide a more direct entry for NHS employees. However, with exclusions placed on social care jobs, there are worries that these vacancies will go unfilled.
With limitations on hopeful migrants, there are concerns that the new system could also result in a shortage of NHS workers in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Government has stated that the list of job roles will be reviewed later in the year.
Non-EU migration counts for 56% of work-permits currently approved, and 2019 was the first time since 2006 that non-EU labour migration surpassed that from the EU itself. Additionally, last year, the number of visas issued to NHS staff surpassed those issued to IT workers.
Further news about the phased roll-out and implementation of the new system are not yet available. The Government says more information will be available later this year. It is known, however, that EU nationals, who currently benefit from freedom of movement, will face the same entry requirements as non-EU nationals following the end of the transition period.Politics Morgan Perry