The UK’s new post-Brexit immigration system, which is currently under consultation, continues to be a hot topic in the media. The UK’s future skills-based immigration system, as advocated by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, aims to protect parts of the economy reliant on migrant labour. However, various sources have expressed concern over the introduction of such a system, describing it as ‘shocking’ and ‘unworkable’.
Specifically, one of the proposals set out in the White Paper concerning skilled workers involves the introduction of a salary threshold of £30,000 per year. This means that migrant workers earning below this threshold will literally be ‘priced out’ of the possibility of remaining in the UK after Brexit – which could have serious implications for the UK economy as a whole.
According to Stephen Kerr, a Scottish Conservative MP, the average salary in Scotland is just under £23,000, which means that these proposals would wrongly classify the majority of people living in Scotland as “unskilled”. Companies working in the construction, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, food production and tourism sectors (to name but a few) would no longer be able to hire workers from abroad and will suffer as a result.
The director of the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, a leading think-tank, warned that “Should Brexit make migration to Scotland more difficult, or less attractive, then this could have serious implications for key sectors and the economy at large”.
In order to mitigate these potentially counterproductive proposals, the Welsh government went a step further and suggested the creation of a Wales-specific list of professions that would be protected from the introduction of the £30,000 salary threshold. A Welsh government spokesman stated that “A £30,000 threshold would not work for Wales and would hit our economy hard. Nurses, junior doctors, vets and a range of workers we need for our public services and industry will find it much more difficult and less attractive to come to Wales under these proposals”.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK currently has the lowest birth rate since 2006, with immigration helping the country to maintain the population at a level that does not pose a threat to the UK’s economy. Controversial and exclusionist immigration proposals may only serve to disrupt this delicate balance.
Gherson has extensive experience with all types of immigration matters and offers advice to those wanting to come to work in the UK. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.