UK set to abolish cap on skilled migrant numbers

The UK government has published it's post-Brexit immigration policy white paper which does not set in stone the £30,000 minimum salary limit neither give details of target immigration levels.

Immigration sign at airport
The UK government's long-awaited plan for a post-Brexit immigration policy was published on Wednesday, offering a new visa route for skilled workers and no cap on numbers in areas where there is a shortage of professionals, such as engineering and medicine.

UK government to delay decisions on a minimum salary for work visa legislation

After freedom of movement ends when Brexit becomes a reality next year, EU nationals will become subject to the same eligibility rules as immigrants from outside the European Economic Area.But the government's Immigration White Paper did not set in stone the current £30,000 minimum salary that currently applies to Tier 2 visas for non-EU workers. Instead it said there would be a consultation period to decide where the future wage threshold should be set. Additionally, the current annual cap of 20,700 Tier 2 visas would be scrapped under the proposals.In the autumn, the government's Migration Advisory Committee recommended a £30,000 minimum for five-year visas but Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC, "We are not setting the exact threshold today. There will be a threshold."The MAC suggested it should be £30,000. That is their view and it is based on their evidence and it is very important for us to listen to that. It is equally important to listen to business to find the right threshold."We will consult further on whether it is £30,000 or thereabouts. What is important is that it is the principle that the MAC set out, which is absolutely right, where we want to focus on high skills."However, businesses remain concerned that the threshold will be still be set too high them and deny them the opportunities to bring in the talents they desperately need.
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No details given on targets for immigration levels post-Brexit

The white paper did not reiterate the Conservative Party's eight-year-old pledge to reduce net migration to below 100,000 a year. It is currently running at 273,000 a year and Mr Javid said there would be no specific target but, rather, that the government was committed to bringing the total down to "sustainable" levels."What we want to do is bring it to a level where it is sustainable in the sense that it meets first our economic need and at the same time though it is not too high a burden on our communities or on our infrastructure," he said.Mr Javid said the UK would remain an "open, welcoming country" to migrants, but added, "We are delivering on the clear instruction (from the Brexit referendum) to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people.

Sajid Javid aims for skilled-based immigration system

"It will be a single, skills-based immigration system built around the talent and expertise people can bring, rather than where they come from - maximising the benefits of immigration and demonstrating the UK is open for business."The white paper also proposed that migrants without specific skills could come to the UK to work for up to a year to protect sectors - particularly construction, social care and hospitality - reliant on overseas workers.Someone on a 12-month visa would not be entitled to access public funds or to bring dependants into the country or to seek permanent settlement. By contrast, the five-year visa for skilled workers would allow them to bring in family members and, in some cases, make them eligible for permanent settlement.In her introduction to the white paper, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote, "This will be a system where it is workers' skills that matter, not which country they come from. It will be a single system that welcomes talent, hard work and the skills we need as a country."

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