Britain set for tough new curbs on low-skilled immigrants

Darnell Taylor
September 20, 2018

The MAC report recommended the cap on those coming to Britain under "Tier 2" visas, now for skilled workers from outside the EEA, should be abolished and that it should be opened to medium-skilled jobs.

- If the government wants to provide a backstop for employers of low-skilled workers it could expand the Tier 5 Youth Mobility scheme which now allows people aged 18-30 from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong to come to the United Kingdom for up to 2 years.

Migrants should be judged on factors including their skills, employment, age and use of public services, and "not fundamentally on their nationality", the report argues.

The government said it would consider the recommendations before setting out further detail on the future immigration system.

The Migration Advisory Committee considered the impact of migration from the European Union on a range of areas including wages and unemployment.

The report, that also says Scotland's economy is not distinct enough to justify the country having its own immigration system, comes less than a fortnight after a visa scheme aimed at recruiting 2,500 non-EU migrants a year seen as a version of a seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS).

The 132-page report assessed the impact of EEA migration on a number of areas including the labour market, productivity, public services and communities.

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"This means that our relatives struggle to get visas to come to the UK for family celebrations, restaurants can not employ skilled chefs from overseas, our temples can not bring in priests, and we can not bring people in for business, cultural or sporting as well as the thousands of talented professionals like doctors, teachers and engineers", said Gujarati-origin Priti Patel, former UK Cabinet minister and a prominent pro-Brexit campaigner.

The government has said fruit and vegetable farmers would be able to recruit non-EU migrants on temporary visas after Brexit to help ease labor shortages during busy periods.

Prof Manning said: "The small overall impacts mean that EEA migration as a whole has had neither the large negative effects claimed by some nor the clear benefits claimed by others".

"We hope that the Government continues to listen to the concerns of employers and seeks to create a system that is flexible, cost-effective and user-friendly, and enables organisations to access both the skills and labour they need after Brexit". However, both the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Defra Secretary Michael Gove confirmed earlier this month that a two-year pilot scheme will give the green light for British farmers to attract non-EU workers.

Figures have sparked claims of a "Brexodus" since the referendum in 2016.

The issue of migration continues to be a highly contentious one, with the UK's ruling Conservative party's commitment to reduce annual net migration to the country to the tens of thousands a target it has continued to miss over the years.

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