The UK’s Point-Based Immigration System Policy Statement

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The Government have published their policy statement that underpins and articulates the aims and objectives of the new points-based immigration system, which they intend to have in place by 31 January 2021.  There is far more detail to follow but the 12-page policy statement sets out the principles, clarifies the direction and sets the tone.

The publication has already prompted a great deal of comment and concern ranging from the view that the point-based system is too lax and will allow unnecessarily high levels of immigration to concerns that it is too harsh, particularly with regard to lower skilled, lower wage employments who are largely excluded.  Not unsurprisingly a number of major trade bodies, including some within leisure and tourism have already made comment and will almost certainly be making further representations in due course.

From the broader destination prospective destination managers may wish scan, if not read in full, the 12-page report to better understand the context, rational and importantly the tone.  From that you will be better placed to assess the degree to which the Government might or might not be willing or able to flex from the headline statements as the policy is turned into practice.  See the report at: 

Meanwhile, Kurt Janson at the Tourism Alliance has kindly produced a summary the key points for tourism and leisure of the policy statement so you and I don’t have to:

The new system will require people wanting to work in the UK to achieve a total of 70 points or more. The allocation of points being as follows:

Mandatory Requirements

  • Offer of job by approved sponsor                                                               20 Points
  • Job at appropriate skill level                                                                        20 Points
  • Speaks English at required level                                                                 10 Points

Salary Requirements

  • Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039                                                      0   Points
  • Salary of £23,040 – £25,599                                                                           10 Points
  • Salary of £25,600 or above                                                                            20 Points

Addition Points Available

  • Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC)                     20 Points
  • Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job                  10 Points
  • Education qualification: PhD in relevant STEM subject                         20 Points

There are also a number of other changes to immigration requirements that are important to know about. These include:

  • The skills threshold has been reduced from RQF6 to RQF3 (ie. from degree level to A level)
  • The cap on skilled workers has been “suspended”
  • The resident labour market test has been removed which should simplify the process for businesses
  • MAC will be commissioned to produce a shortage occupation list covering all jobs encompassed by the skilled worker route and to keep the list under regular review
  • MAC will determine where there are sector shortages and allocate the additional 20 points for temporary periods.
  • Skilled workers will be able to be accompanied by their dependants.
  • The Home Office will consider adding further flexibility into the system including additional attributes that can be ‘traded’ against a lower salary such as greater range of qualification levels or other factors such as age or experience studying in the UK
  • The Youth Mobility Scheme will be retained, but not expanded
  • Students will also be covered by the points-based system and will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.
  • EU citizens will be able to continue to use e-gates, but the Govt will keep this policy under review
  • For employers sponsoring skilled migrants, the process will be streamlined to reduce the time it takes to bring a migrant into the UK by up to eight weeks.
  • The Govt plans to have the application system up and running by Autumn 2020, so that migrants can start to apply ahead the system taking effect in January 2021
  • The Govt will set out detail on phasing out the ability of EU nationals to use of national ID cards to enter the UK shortly.

It is important to recognise that today’s announcement is just the policy paper and that the Home Office will be publishing further detail on the points-based system including detailed guidance regarding the points tables, shortage occupations and qualifications over the coming months.



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