New points based immigration system set to cause chaos for low paid sectors

19th February 2020

Announced  today the new points based system due to come in in January 2021 will cause huge concerns for any sector currently  reliant on low skilled immigrant labour, such as the care sector, seasonal agriculture and hospitality.

Under the new system new workers (who do not already have settled status) from outside of the UK will need to have 70 points in order to be able to work in the UK. While the points can be selected from a menu, 50 points have to come from 3 mandatory areas:

  • Job must be offered by an approved sponsor (20 points)
  • Job must be at an appropriate skill level – A level or above (20 points)
  • Applicant must speak English at required level (10 points)

 

The remaining 20 points come from any of 6 remaining areas which include salary levels; whether or not the job is in a shortage category; and whether the worker has a PHD.

On analysis of the facts it will be difficult for many low skilled jobs to meet the mandatory areas let alone the additional points required.

The argument of course is that UK employers will have to pay more to attract hitherto reticent domestic labour into their positions, but the economic impact of this may be too much for some businesses to cope at a micro level (leading to company failures) and is bound to cause inflationary pressures as those employers that do survive will surely have to put up prices to cope with the extra costs. Given that the UK is close to ‘full employment’ it remains to be seen whether the labour to fill these essential but low skilled jobs will be available at any realistic wage level.

Unless the government concedes to including shortage positions without the mandatory 50 points there will be rocky times ahead for any industry reliant on low skilled immigrant labour. From a social perspective the implications for the most vulnerable people in the UK must surely be of most concern, as the care sector leaks the formally eligible foreign workers on which it depends so heavily.

On initial analysis and without the further implementing detail one cannot help but conclude that the system proposed is not in the interests of the economy, nor the optimum solution for many British people.

The full points based menu:

  • Job must be offered by an approved sponsor (20 points) REQUIRED
  • Job must be at an appropriate skill level – A level or above (20 points) REQUIRED
  • Applicant must speak English at required level (10 points) REQUIRED
  • Salary of £25,600 or above (20 points) TRADEABLE
  • Salary of £23,040 – £25,599 (10 points) TRADEABLE
  • Job in a shortage occupation (20 points) TRADEABLE
  • PhD in subject relevant to job (10 points) TRADEABLE
  • PhD in STEM subject relevant to job (20 points) TRADEABLE

 

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