The Prime Minister is planning on wavering plans on putting a £30k minimum wage threshold for immigrants coming to work in the UK after Brexit, according to recent reports.
This comes as part of Boris Johnson’s new immigration policy post-Brexit, for which he is said to be inspired by the current Australian system.
As it stands, due to rules brought in under Theresa May during her time as Home Secretary, experienced workers from outside the European Union hoping to live in the UK must be able to earn at least £30k to qualify for a work visa. Recent graduates are required to earn at least £20,800.
Former PM Theresa May had planned to allow a long transition period before a new system is enforced after Brexit.
Under her blueprint, the current level of new arrivals would last until 2022 in a concession to worried businesses in sectors like hospitality who feared a collapse in their workforce.
Boris wants change
The government has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to look into the call they previously made under Theresa May relating to this wage threshold, after many Cabinet members voicing their opinion that the threshold may deter skilled migrants from coming to the UK, these rules are being reconsidered.
It is predicted that the MAC will now advise scrapping the £30k threshold in favour of a different approach to immigration.
The wages that an immigrant will be earning should they come to the UK will still be taken into consideration, but that consideration will run alongside a host of other factors including English language skills, occupation and qualifications.
An emphasis on skills
While some people will see the throwing away of the £30k threshold as a positive move for lower-skilled workers who are often paid less, this may not always be the case. As part of the new system the government will be looking more closely than before at the type of job the migrant is taking, and what personal skills and qualifications they can bring to the UK. Age will also be taken into consideration.
For example, let’s say there is an unskilled 40 year old labourer coming from Australia to the UK where he has been offered a job within a building company being paid £30k per year. Just because he will earn £30k does not mean he will get the job, due to his other attributes.
However, a 21 year old from Japan with a Chemistry degree who has been offered a role in a laboratory which only pays £23k per year might still get the job due to the field they are going into and the skills they are bringing to the UK.
That being said, some politicians are optimistic for lower-paid workers. Responding to news that the £30,000 limit was likely to be dropped, the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said it showed that the UK economy needed a broad range of workers.
“We always said their plans were unworkable, as many employers in the private and public sector need what the government insists on calling ‘low-skilled workers’. But all workers need decent pay, reasonable conditions, a right to a family life and trade union rights, wherever they are from. We will continue to fight for them,” she said.
Everyone in agreement?
It is predicted that the move will not be universally agreed with, especially in terms of other Conservative politicians.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith is already warning ministers to “be cautious about ditching the £30,000 threshold”.
He says, “they will need to have very strong checks in place to ensure that they deliver on their pledge to control immigration.”
New immigration policy to come in sooner?
Boris Johnson plans to bring in this new immigration scheme in 2021, a year sooner than the date announced by Theresa May when she was PM. It is being dubbed an Australian style immigration policy.
Some employers of people on low-pay, such as the hospitality industry and the cleaning industries, have voiced their concerns that there will not be enough of a transition period. The Prime Minister has responded that Britain has been leaving the EU since 2016, and there has been ample time to prepare and plan for these changes.
We will bring you more on this as it comes.
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