Fair Immigration, Fair to the Taxpayer
AT the election, the Conservatives pledged in the manifesto to introduce a points based immigration system. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel are now fulfilling that pledge.
We currently have one million people arriving in the UK every three years, amongst the highest net migration of any European country. Direct and indirect migration make up 80 percent of our population increase. The vast majority are lower skilled workers. This causes significant strain on housing and our public services, particularly schools and our NHS. Oxford Economics has said that high immigration has cost our country up to £4billion in 2016-17.
The new points system, will end freedom of movement and introduce a points based system that will be equally applied and not favour one country over another. It reduces the expected salary from around 30k to 25k for skilled people to come and work here and reduces the expected qualifications to a Level 3 as opposed to Higher Degree. So, under the new system, an overseas construction worker can come to the UK, as long as they are sponsored by an employer, earn a minimum of 25k and have at least a Level 3 qualification. A migrant care worker could come in, under the same conditions. Special exceptions in terms of points will be made for areas of exceptional need like Healthcare.
New migrants will have to pay towards the NHS of around £400 a year, and will not be able to access most welfare benefits unless they have been here for five years.
The points system will be flexible: if there are areas where we cannot find people, it can be adjusted over time. The Government is also investing £billions into skills and apprenticeships, vocational and technical education to ensure we have a home grown skilled workforce. For example, the nursing bursary is being reintroduced alongside Nursing Degree Level Apprenticeships. I am separately campaigning in Parliament for a Skills Tax Credit for businesses: If companies properly invest in home grown employee skills and lifelong learning, they would get some of their taxes back from the Government.
However, the crucial point is that this new points based system is fair to the taxpayer and fair on immigration. All the evidence from other countries that have a points based system, is that productivity and output per employee increases significantly. The new policy means our country takes back control of immigration policy and it will not be decided by the EU. Rather than being a magnet for low wage, skilled workers to come here, we will ensure that migrants who do come have good skills and qualifications and help improve our nation’s skills and productivity.
You can read more about the new immigration system here.