In Australia, the debate on reducing the immigration intake to slow our explosive population growth continues apace.
As yet, there has been no consensus as to how much the annual migrant intake should be reduced. Though concerns about the crushing congestion in the capital cities and a lack of policies to allow for better integration of new migrants are mounting.
The UK has faced these same issues for many years. Now the British government is taking action.
The British government is taking action
In its biggest reform of the immigration system in decades, EU nationals will no longer get special treatment.
In a recently released policy paper, Theresa May’s government lays out its vision which hinges on the crucial distinction between skilled and unskilled workers.
While some business groups have warned the government to not ‘pull up the drawbridge,’ the UK intends to give companies time to adapt.
The debate over immigration was front and centre in the UK’s Brexit referendum and if you’ve visited London in the past few years, you can understand why.
The city is bursting at the seams.
According to RAW, although the policy paper did not set an official limit for annual net migration, its stated goal is to reduce the number to ‘sustainable levels’ — this was a key part of the Conservative Party’s 2017 platform and the number flagged then was 100,000.
When asked by an MP if this was the intended number, May simply replied, ‘Yes.’
The new immigration system
Under the new system, skilled works will have to be sponsored by a company and meet a minimum salary threshold.
According to the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent body which gives the government advice, the proposed amount is 30,000 pounds (AU$52,754), but many businesses have questioned this amount.
Crucially, there will not be a cap on the number of skilled workers — the lifeblood of a modern service economy.
A temporary workers scheme will also be established that will allow those from the EU and unskilled workers from ‘low risk’ countries to come to the UK without a job offer for up to 12 months.
There will also be a transitional temporary worker scheme, which will allow EU nationals and workers of any skill level from other ‘low risk’ countries, to come to Britain without a job offer for up to 12 months at a time.
After this 12-month period, they’ll be required to live elsewhere for 12 more months, in order to be considered for another temporary visa.
Interior Minister Sajid Javid said in the policy paper that the scheme would ‘ensure businesses have the staff they need and to help employers move smoothly to the new immigration system.’
Additional measures include no rights to settle, bring dependents or access certain public fun.
For comparison, with a population that is just over a third of the UK, Australia had a net overseas migration of 262,500 people last year.
Slated for review in 2025, the scheme sounds like a sensible policy — we just now need to see similar reforms happen in Australia.
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