Home Secretary Priti Patel will today (Wednesday 19 February) launch a new points-based immigration system , which takes effect from 1 January 2021, will end free movement, reassert control of our borders and restore public trust.
It will assign points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions and visas will only be awarded to those who gain enough points.
The government says it has listened to the clear message from the 2016 referendum and the 2019 General Election and will end the reliance on cheap, low-skilled labour coming into the country.
However, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time will be disastrous for the hospitality sector and the British people. Business must be given time to adapt.
“These proposals will cut off future growth and expansion and deter investment in Britain’s high streets. It will lead to reduced levels of service for customers and business closures. Hospitality is already facing an acute labour shortage, despite investing significantly in skills, training and increasing apprenticeships for the domestic workforce. We are facing record low levels of unemployment, a dip in young people entering the labour market and have the highest vacancy levels of any sector.
“This announcement fails to recognise that hospitality is at the heart of every community in the UK. Damaging the hospitality sector will have a knock-on effect for schoolchildren and the elderly who rely on the sector for their meals. The Government says it is making allowances for staff in the NHS, but it has totally ignored the catering companies who supply the meals to patients and staff.
“We understand the Government’s desire to deliver on the referendum result and its aim of moving to a skills-based immigration system. We fully support the ambition to upskill the domestic population and provide opportunities for people in every part of the UK. These proposals fail to deliver on the Government’s own objective of providing an immigration system which works for the UK’s economy and its people.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Today is a historic moment for the whole country. We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down.”
“We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”
The points threshold will be set to attract the talent the UK needs. Skilled workers will need to meet a number of relevant criteria, including specific skills and the ability to speak English, to be able to work in the UK. All applicants will be required to have a job offer and, in line with the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations, the minimum salary threshold will be set at £25,600.
In line with the government’s manifesto commitment there will be no specific route for low-skilled workers. It is estimated 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which will help to bring overall numbers down in future.
EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. However, the use of national identity cards will be phased out for travel to the UK and the Home Office will set out our plans in due course.
Those EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can still apply to settle in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.