UK Border Update: UK Points Based Immigration System

The points based immigration system has been successfully adopted in Canada, Australia and New Zealand countries that are culturally and politically similar to the UK. It is designed to repel permanent low-skilled immigration while otherwise having a fairly open country. There has been a lot of misinformation about the points based immigration system however.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson displays the new British Passport. Map shows a majority percentage support for CANZUK across CANZUK (From CANZUK International April 2018 Poll)

The points based immigration system is designed to disincentive permanent residence of low-skilled migrants who for example have poor language skills and are a net economic drain when the amount of tax paid into the system in contrast to tax credits, healthcare and cost of other services etc are taken into account. Due to poor socio-economic status and poor language skills such migrants are far less likely to integrate into British society or in other words segregate (which has been the main source of the host British society having a backlash against EU26 immigration for example but not against the CTA with the ROI).

The points based system is also designed to prevent economic migration. Or in other words moving to the UK without working and using up resources within the social security safety net without contributing to British society which is far more lenient in the UK than some other EU countries.

The points based system alongside proper policing and a proper border security will make the UK safer. It will reduce crimes like theft and the formation of gangs and begging rings as migrants will be less likely to commit these petty crimes if they know it will result in immediate deportation. Removing the malignant features of economic immigration and retaining the positive features of immigration will in time substantially boost the British overall perspective of migrants.

A shared language and a tough stance on crime is one of the reasons the Trans-Tasman Travel Area existing between Australia and New Zealand has been so successful.

Let’s now focus on the positive aspects of immigration and the new UK border policies.

Youth Mobility Visa

The points based system will be used alongside the youth mobility scheme similar to the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand models. Collectively these allow and encourage motivated youth from low-risk countries (low risk in terms of committing illegal activity in the UK or overstaying visas) to come to the UK while they are young to learn English or to gain work and life experience. This covers common trends such as school leavers from the EU and non-EU countries coming to the UK for 1–2 summers doing summer work such as seasonal agricultural work and becoming an au-pair. Many motivated young people do this type of work before deciding to study in the UK and then moving into skilled work post-studies.

Student Visa and Post Study Visa

Visas will be made available for international students to study in the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. This is also being topped up alongside a 2 year post-study visa (once again similar to the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand models) to retain international students and give them a means of stepping up into the skilled immigration path.

UK egates

The UK Border has already been updated to welcome passport holders from the UK’s closest allies in the Commonwealth, EU/EEA and the rest of the world. These countries are all deemed “low-risk” in terms of overstaying a visa (or taking their citizens back) and committing a crime. Passport holders from these countries should be able to visit the UK as a tourist without a visa and remain for up to six months entering the UK through its egates (there are some exceptions for example travelling with young children).

The citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, Singapore and South Korea, who possess biometric passports, will continue to be able to use e-gates to pass through the border on arrival. We will also unilaterally allow EU citizens to continue to use e-gates, but we will keep this policy under review.

In other words the UK intends to remain fairly open to the EU but “nothing is agreed with the EU until everything is agreed” so the UK has some leverage with the EU in the ongoing negotiations.

UK Points Based Immigration System

The original table for the UK Points Based immigration System is here:

I have put together a colour-coded version for additional clarity.

50 mandatory points plus 20 tradeable points are required. Jobs will have to be offered by an approved employer (all employers have to register and submit details with HMRC so there is likely to be very little changes here), at the appropriate skill level and the applicant has to have an adequate level of English.

The NHS for example will be an approved employer with most of its jobs additionally on the shortage occupation list meaning any applicant with professional skills and language skills to work in the NHS will automatically pass points based immigration. The general public will be supportive of this immigration mechanism.

Next there is the top salary tier, high paid jobs with salaries over £25,600 will automatically pass the points based immigration system. The general public is usually supportive of such immigration as these migrants will pay far more into taxes they they take out.

Next there is the Education Qualification. The government is planning to make the UK a leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the general public see an economic advantage in doing so as it leads to new research, new innovations, new products and successful UK businesses which are a net gain to society in terms of taxation and also in the products available. As a result having a PhD in a STEM subject will allow one to automatically pass the points based immigration system. Wages in STEM usually pass the lower or higher salary thresholds.

A non-STEM PhD for example in Humanities does not pass points based immigration alone. The main reason for this is because the job prospects for a Humanities PhD are much poorer and the general public don’t want competition from substantially over-qualified candidates in what is deemed a “low skilled” jobs. As a result the lower salary threshold needs to be satisfied.

FinTech Bridges

The UK is setting a number of FinTech bridges up with other countries to bolster the Financial and Technology sectors. These include the following countries in Asia-Pacific:

  • Australia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • China

The UK already has extremely strong historic links with three of these five and the FinTech bridge to China is likely to be associated with Hong Kong.

There are likely to be plans to set up similar schemes in North America and there have been ongoing talks of setting one up between the UK and Canada.

Companies will likely be encouraged to post reciprocal job offers across the FinTech bridge which will pass each other’s points based immigration system.

The FinTech bridge is likely to be the deepest with Australia due to the substantially high mutual trust between the Australian and British populaces, the fact the number 1 location for Australian expats is the UK and the number 1 location for British expats is Australia. These two countries also share the same language and a very similar culture. There is also a substantial level of financial investment between the two Commonwealth countries which have similar institutions and Common Law political systems as well as similar environmental standards, healthcare standards and mutual qualifications. There is also tight integration of their armed forces with Australia calling for more British involvement in the Asia-Pacific. The Australian government has stated that the UK-Australian FinTech bridge will cover four inter-related pillars:

  1. Government-to-government
  2. Regulator-to-regulator
  3. Trade and investment
  4. Business-to-business

One can imagine that the groundwork between the UK-Australia FinTech bridge will also apply to Canada and New Zealand. The Canadian Conservative Party, a strong opposition party have a Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom Alliance as their flagship foreign policy which in essence advocates for Canada and the United Kingdom to join the Trans-Tasman agreement and Closer Economic Relations existing between Australia and New Zealand. This is reinforced by the New Zealand ACT Party and has strong advocates in the Australian Liberal Party and UK Conservative Party. CANZUK is a possibility now that the UK Border is inline with the minimum requirements set by the other three CANZUK countries. Polling shows a solid two third majority support for special reciprocal immigrant agreements between the four CANZUK countries and approximately 285,000 have signed the CANZUK International Closer Ties and Freedom of Movement Petition. A CANZUK All Parliamentary Party Group has been setup in the UK.

UK Ancestry Visa (For those with a British Grandparent)

An additional pathway for a Commonwealth Citizen who has a parent or grandparent born in the UK is of course the UK Ancestry visa.