Nigel Farage said while a points-based immigration system is a “step in the right direction” he believes it could open the UK up to more movement. The Brexit Party leader said without a cap on Priti Patel’s plans, the number of people coming into the country will be even bigger than today. Pledging to cut annual net migration, Ms Patel has urged employers to prepare for a “significant change” with rules designed to shift the economy away from relying on cheap labour from Europe towards a “high-wage, high skill, high productivity” future.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Farage said: “The fact we’re introducing criteria for who can come into the country that is a huge step in the right direction and something the British public very much wants.
“They’re the big positives from today.
“The problem in the criteria itself suggests to me that the numbers of people coming into the country from outside the EU will be even bigger than they are today.
“With no caps on numbers we have the possibility that this system means more immigration, not less.”
A policy document published by the Home Office set out details of the new points-based immigration system due to come into force from January 1 when the UK’s transition out of EU rules and regulations ends.
“We will reduce overall levels of migration,” the document pledged.
Under the new system, foreign nationals applying to come to the UK for work purposes will have to meet a strict set of criteria.
“We will deliver a system that works in the interests of the whole of the UK and prioritises the skills a person has to offer not where they came from,” the document adds.
The system will assign points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions and visas will only be awarded to those who gain enough points.
Minimum requirements will include having a job offer from an approved sponsor that suits their skill level and being able to speak English.
Applicants meeting those criteria will be awarded 50 of the 70 points needed to successfully apply for an online “e-visa” to come to the UK under the new system.
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But to get over the minimum points threshold they will have to meet other criteria based on salary, seeking to work in a sector with a recognised labour shortage of a having a PhD.
A minimum general salary threshold of £25,600 will set, although different levels could be set in some specific sectors of the economy.
The proposals, to be put to Parliament in a new Immigration Bill later this year, are designed to close the general route into the country for unskilled or temporary workers.
“We will not introduce a general low-skilled or temporary work route. We need to shift the focus of our economy away from a reliance on cheap labour from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation. Employers will need to adjust,” said the document.
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