Prime minister Boris Johnson spoke recently about pushing for the adoption of an Australian-style points-based system – a key promise of the Leave campaign – in order to recalibrate the UK’s approach to skilled and unskilled migration
Johnson intends to commission the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review the Australian system and report on the feasibility of its adoption and effectiveness by the end of 2019.
Now that Johnson has played the role of Prime Minister, is the Australian-style points-based system close to becoming a reality? how does it work? And how will this affect UK businesses in practice?
Known as the ‘189’ visa in Australia, the application requires individuals who have 65 marks (age, English language ability, skilled employment experience and educational to name) before filing an expression of expression Depending on certain factors including qualification) there should be a minimum of interest. Successful applicants are then invited by the Australian Department of Home Affairs to apply for a permanent residence visa and are eligible to work immediately upon arrival to Australia.
The more points scored, the more people will be selected.
This is hardly a “democrat” of the immigration system and so it is always surprising when people compare Australian migrants, who are clearly skilled migrants, to the United States green card lottery.
It is also early to tell cynicists of the Australian system that awarding for English language skills is a volatile qualitative way to exclude applicants from non-English speaking countries.
This favorable treatment of skilled migrants poses a problem for economies such as Australia (as would be the case in the UK), as there is a dire need for unskilled workers such as truck drivers, frontline aged care workers and child carers. These roles struggle to gain the necessary points for the ‘189’ visa. To understand further matters, many skilled expatriates struggle to find work upon arrival in Australia because of their skills and experience in the job market .
Britain faces the same issues as Australia and does not deny that our country is suffering from a real shortage in skilled and unskilled labor. Unemployment is at an all-time low of 3.8% and the NHS has more than 100,000 incomplete vacancies.
It is difficult to see the large gap between the Australian system for skilled workers in the UK and the current Tier 2 (general) system, although the administrative burden on employers in Australia is low.
The added administrative burden that UK businesses face only brings skills into sharp focus. It is costly for small businessmen to not only recruit skilled migrant workers here, but also to show the Ministry of Home Affairs that there are no suitably settled workers to fill these positions, both burdensome and ineffective.