UK prime minister Boris Johnson plans to introduce a new visa system which will drastically lower the immigration rate to the country.
Speaking in an interview with Sky News, Johnson said that the new legislation will look to introduce a points-based system – similar to the one used in Australia – which will mean fewer unskilled workers will settle in the country.
While this system has seen an increase in immigration in Australia, Johnson said that this would not necessarily be the case in the UK.
“It depends on how you apply it. The migration advisory committee will tell the government what’s happening and we will take a view about how to control it.
“You’ve got to have a system by which politicians can say to people, ‘well yes, we are letting people in but we’re doing it in a way that is controlled and checked’.”
Australia’s points-based system is designed to target migrants who have skills or outstanding abilities so as to contribute meaningfully to the country’s economy, and filling any labour shortages.
Most skilled visas for immigration to Australia require applicants to score a minimum number of points on the Points Test.
Points are awarded in a number of categories which are considered attractive qualities, including the following:
- Age requirements;
- Competency in English;
- Skilled Employment;
- Educational Qualifications.
In a separate interview with the Sunday Times, Johnson said there would be three categories of visas for those wanting to come to the UK.
The first would be for “exceptional talent” that could be fast-tracked to the UK without needing a job offer, while a second type would be for skilled workers such as NHS staff to travel to the country when they have a job lined up.
While both these groups would be given the chance to stay permanently, a third group of unskilled workers would be eligible for short-term visas in sectors where there are employee shortages.
In all three cases, he said that “there is no pathway to residency”.
“It’s not raising the drawbridge or slamming the door, far from it. It’s keeping Britain open to the world, but open to the whole world and in a fair way,”
Speaking to The Guardian Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College London, said that the system will not look that different for skilled migrants now.
“It’s not radical. Most likely it will not look that different from what we have now.
“There’s a damaging misconception in this debate that there’s a binary divide between the brain surgeons and the people who pick strawberries – most ordinary immigrants are somewhere in between. Doing jobs that require skills but aren’t necessarily highly skilled, and they would not pass this particular test.
“Butchers, for example, or people who work in abattoirs – this is hard work and you need training. Most come from eastern Europe but are unlikely to make the highly-skilled cut,” he said.
UK still a popular destination
A growing number of South Africans have left the country in recent years, citing a host of reasons including rising crime and unemployment rates, affirmative action, deterioration in social services, a decline in living standards, in the quality of life, a deterioration in education standards, and rising tax rates.
New data from the UK’s office for national statistics show that the country is still a popular destination for South Africans with an estimated 255,000 citizens currently living in the country as of June 2019.
By comparison, there were 246,000 South Africans living in the UK as at the end of 2018. This means that there has been an effective net gain of 9,000 people.