The UK home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday announced a new points-based visa system that is aimed at attracting "brightest and the best" from the world, including from India. The new system would mean that the citizens of the European Union will not be getting preferential access to living and working in the UK.
Notably, the new system will come into effect from January 2021 after the end of the transition period after the UK's exit from the European Union (EU) last month. UK's withdrawal from the EU has formally ended the free movement of its people within the economic bloc. One of the other objectives of this point based system is to cut down numbers of cheap, low-skilled workers coming to the country.
Minimum 70 points needed for applicants
Interestingly, the UK already issues more than half of its work visas to Indian professionals. Moreover, the new system of point-based assessment has a lower annual salary threshold (£25,600) which is expected to push more Indians to get employment opportunities in the post-Brexit UK.
The minimum points needed to apply under the new regime will be 70, accrued in increments of 20 or 10 based on professional skills. Further, it will also be required for an applicant to be proficient in the English language, should have a job offer from an approved sponsor and salary levels between 20,480 pounds and 25,600 pounds or above.
Patel, who is also the senior-most Indian-origin Cabinet minister, "Today is a historic moment for the whole country. We're ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people's priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down."
Businesses across the UK have hailed the new regime as it scraps the cap on work visas but is apprehensive of the fact that new rules may trigger severe labor shortages when low-skilled EU citizens will no longer be available in hospitality, care, food processing and including other sectors.
Similarly, the Indian industry and student groups have welcomed the new-point visa system. Jim Bligh, Chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) UK-India Business Forum (IBF) said, "We welcome the Home Office's proposed new system, which rightly recognizes that immigration to the UK should be based on skills, salaries, and knowledge of the English language."