The UK’s Home Office has published more details about its future skills-based immigration system.
Earlier this month, the department said that a new immigration and borders system will be implemented in a phased approach from 2021.
“Proposals include scrapping the annual cap on the number of visas issued for skilled workers and widening the skills threshold to include people with qualifications equivalent of A levels,” the Home Office said.
“The new skills-based system will also remove the resident labour market test for high-skilled workers and introduce a route for temporary workers at any skills from low-risk countries, allowing them to come to the UK for a maximum of 12 months.”
According to JP Breytenbach, director of Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants, the new skills-based immigration system is definitely good news for South Africans looking to live and work in the UK.
“The new immigration system will mark the end of free movement for European workers to the United Kingdom. It will not favour any specific nationality. Europeans will have to compete with all other nationalities if they want to apply for UK jobs and visas,” he said.
Breytenbach said that the end of free movement will also mean that there will be more job opportunities available.
This, coupled with a simpler skills-based immigration system will allow South Africans to take up more job opportunities in the UK, he said.
“It will definitely be easier for South Africans with sought after skills and talent to apply to live and work in the UK.
“Furthermore, there will no longer be a cap on the number of workers that can come in a specific period. This will make it easier for UK employers in specific sectors to hire the number of workers they need.”
Despite recent Brexit troubles, Breytenbach said that the UK labour market remains a desirable location for South Africans.
“London is reckoned to be the financial capital of the world, and many global businesses have their headquarters in the city,”he said .
“This obviously means many attractive job opportunities for skilled and highly skilled persons in London, and the country as a whole.
“It is also easy for South Africans to adapt to the UK workplace and culture. Language is no barrier. The short flight distance also makes it an attractive destination for South African businesses looking to expand to the UK and EU markets.”
No typical applicant
Despite a recent uptick in the number of South Africans looking to emigrate, Breytenbach said that there a really is no ‘typical’ South African applicant.
“There are numerous young persons who are applying for UK student visas. Many of them then later switch to other immigration categories, upon finishing their studies,” he said.
“We also have skilled and highly skilled persons who apply for visas and permits from all age groups, and a number of business persons looking for visas in order to expand their businesses to the UK.”