Published 13 December 2019

Personnel Today sought out the opinions from employment experts covering pensions, immigration and employment policy.

Migrate UK’s managing director was asked for his opinion in regard to immigration.

Immigration and skills concerns as Brexit draws nearer

“We do now need greater clarity from the newly elected Conservative Party on the UK’s immigration policy. Back in September, the Conservative home secretary asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review how an Australian-style points-based (PBS) immigration system could be introduced in Britain to strengthen the UK labour market. But we’re still no clearer on how this new system would work in practice in the UK, and how this fits with the MAC’s much anticipated white paper review into minimum salary thresholds.

The new immigration system is also meant to be ‘fairer and more compassionate’, although the Conservative’s election manifesto stated that the immigration health surcharge will increase to as much as £800 per person per year, implying further increases from the £625 previously announced.

EU nationals’ access to benefits and housing will also be limited in line with non-EU migrants, while there has been much criticism of the new EU Settlement Scheme which was ignored by the Conservative Party’s election manifesto. The settlement application system will turn legally residing EU citizens into ‘illegal immigrants’ if they do not apply successfully by the 31 December 2020 deadline.

The new Conservative government should look to introduce a declaratory registration system through an Act of Parliament that would confer automatic rights to EU citizens currently residing in the UK to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit. Hopefully this is something the Conservative Party will now consider so we don’t see scenarios similar to those with the Windrush scandal”.