World News

United Kingdom to prioritise high-skilled migrants post-Brexit, business groups sceptical

United Kingdom to prioritise high-skilled migrants post-Brexit, business groups sceptical

A United Kingdom government White Paper on its post-Brexit visas and immigration strategy unveiled in Parliament on Wednesday is expected to benefit Indian students and professionals, with a focus on skills rather than country of origin.

In a bid to regain some of its vanished political momentum, the British government published long-awaited plans for a post-Brexit immigration system that will end the automatic right of European Union citizens to live in the United Kingdom.

Britain's decision to accelerate contingency planning was made during an ill-tempered three-hour Cabinet meeting Tuesday, in which ministers clashed over what to do if May fails next month, as still seems likely, to secure House of Commons approval for her exit deal.

The think tank also warned that the fact the low-skilled worker visas will be valid for 12 months could be a way of "fiddling the immigration figures", as they only include migrants set to stay in the country for over a year.

The goal of cutting net migration - the difference between the annual number of people arriving in the United Kingdom versus the number leaving - was set by David Cameron's coalition government in 2010.

This disagreement, together with fears from the food, service and health sectors that their industries could be badly hit by hiring restrictions, has resulted in the White Paper being delayed by over a year.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Greg Clark, business secretary, who led the revolt, now expect employers' groups to lobby hard to slash the prime minister's preferred £30,000 threshold.

The MAC's report, published in September, concluded that the new system should make it easier for higher-skilled workers to come to the country. It will be a system that will bring net migration down to more sustainable levels.

"The figure of £30,000 was floated in the Migration Advisory Committee report and was met by fierce opposition from nearly all sectors".

More news: Turkey May Start New Syria Operation at Any Moment, Erdogan Says

Javid said the threshold salary needed for a professional of worker to move to the United Kingdom will be determined later as employers raised concerns over the likely figure of £30,000.

■ Existing rules on bringing family members to the country, including minimum income requirements, would be extended to settled European Union citizens.

Javid described the immigration white paper as "delivering on the clear instruction to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people. With the employment rate at a record high, small firms are already struggling to access the skills they need", said Cherry. Net immigration in the year to June was 273,000.

The white paper itself refers indirectly to May's long-held target.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said the government was "hellbent" on ignoring the business community on immigration.

The new immigration rules are due to be come into force at the end of the post-Brexit transition period, at the beginning of 2021.

The longer the political impasse drags on, the more anxious British businesses get.

The White Paper also states that low-skilled workers may be able to apply for short-term visas of up to a year.