Thank you for contacting me about the proposed points-based immigration system.
The movement of people around the world has enriched our society, our economy and our culture.
As you will be aware, the Government’s 2019 manifesto stated it would introduce an “Australian-style points-based immigration system”. Additionally, the 2019 December Queen’s Speech committed to bring an end to free movement in UK law.
A points system is a way of selecting labour migrants based on their characteristics, such as their educational qualifications and language proficiency. The Government has outlined that the new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and is due to take effect from 1 January 2021.
It is deeply concerning that research by the Institute for Public Policy Research has found that the Government’s plans would hit vital sectors. It found that in total, around 69% of EU migrants currently working in the UK would be ineligible for a skilled work visa if the future immigration rules were to apply to them.
I am concerned that the system does not have as its primary objective bringing into the country the people needed to fill the vacancies and shortages that we need to address. The Government must recognise that the economic and social needs of the country must take priority in immigration policy.
In January 2020, the Migration Advisory Committee recommended to drop the proposed minimum salary threshold to £25,600, down from £30,000, which the Government accepted. I am concerned this will still not help recruit the hospital staff we need, the social care workers or many of the new recruits to private businesses. I believe the Government should build a system based on human rights and aimed at meeting the skills and labour shortages that exist in our economy and public services. Our immigration system must allow us to recruit the people we need, and to welcome them and their families. Our work visa system must fill any skills or labour shortages that arise.
Ultimately, this system will make it difficult to attract the workers we need at all skill levels. I assure you that I will follow developments closely and continue to press the Government to establish a humane immigration system.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.