A project to reduce immigration after Brexit was called “a disaster” by the leaders of social assistance and broke Boris Johnson’s promise of a point-based system.
Downing Street is climbing to save the prime minister’s high-profile commitment to adopt an Australian-style system after it was rejected by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which called it “a bite”.
The implementation of such a system – based on factors such as age, qualifications and previous study in the UK – risked repeating past “mistakes” and should only be introduced for highly skilled migrants, said the MAC .
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Instead, it required a minimum wage threshold for most workers who offered a job – a system that Mr. Johnson tried to demolish – but set at £ 25,600 instead of the £ 30,000 proposed under the Theresa May premiere.
The idea was saved as a “disaster” by the Nuffield Trust, a health think tank, which warned: “These proposals would make it almost impossible for people to migrate to work in most frontline social care jobs.”
Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, criticized the rejection of any regional variation in the proposed £ 25,600 plan, saying it would create problems for businesses in the poorest parts of the UK.
But Priti Patel, the home secretary, immediately hinted that the MAC report would be rejected – after its president, Professor Alan Manning, revealed that he had already been fired.
Describing his recommendation as simply “advisory”, Patel said, “The British public voted for the change in terms of immigration and thereby voted for an Australian-style point-based system.”
Meanwhile, the report itself made it clear that its proposed crackdown would cut economic growth – “compared to freedom of movement” – while offering “small increases” in per capita GDP and productivity.
The job accused the government of “tying itself to knots” and called for “a system based on decent treatment of people and their families who come here with solid job offers, whatever their level of pay.”
The prime minister had asked the MAC to explore how to introduce a point-based system immediately after taking office last summer.
He told MPs: “For years, politicians have promised the public an Australian-style point-based system. And today I will fulfill those promises. “
The pledge was one of the six “guarantees” on the front page of the conservative election manifesto, to replace the free movement of EU citizens when the transition period from Brexit ends on 31 December 2020.
But the MAC found that the point-based system introduced for non-EU citizens by Tony Blair’s government in 2008 had proven to “forgive the pun, useless.”
Any assessment of characteristics such as age, qualifications and experience was “ineffective or overly complex”, he warned.
Instead, he recommended:
* Reduction of the wage threshold proposed for skilled migrants from £ 30,000 to £ 25,600, with lower floors for teachers and NHS workers.
* Allow “talented individuals” without a job offer to register their interest in coming to the UK with monthly invitations to be applied.
* Lower rates for workers under the age of 26, which means that in some professions they should only earn £ 17,920.
The professor. Manning stressed that no other country has used a point-based system as the “only way to migrate jobs”.
And he warned of a push for traffickers of people from any repression, saying: “The risk of trafficking in people increases. There must be an application of the labor market. “
He concluded: “Immigration hasn’t really damaged people’s job opportunities or their wages, but in the same way it hasn’t really benefited much.”
The end of free movement would see “slightly reduced pressure” on hospitals, schools and social housing and “slight increase in pressure” on social care, according to the report.
But Natasha Curry, senior colleague of the Nuffield Trust, said: “The changes would be a disaster for social care if a new sector-specific route were not added.
“Nursing homes and other providers already have rising vacancy rates, and our research shows that tens of thousands of additional staff will be needed to fulfill the promise of setting up a system that leaves many languors without support.”
The prime minister’s spokesman said that Mr. Johnson remained committed to the so-called Australian-style system, but declined to say whether this would only happen for some arrivals.
“We will define those details in due course,” he said The independent. A response to the report is expected within the next few weeks.
The professor. Manning said ministers rejected his candidacy for a second term as panel president, but no. 10 rejected any suggestions that had been rejected.