The UK government has revealed details about the country’s new immigration system to replace freedom of movement with the European Union, and although unprecedented, will be the foundation for developing facilitated migration with Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
CANZUK International in Toronto, Canada
Under the new system, EU migrants will be treated the same as those from the rest of the world after recommendations were considered by the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
The government wants a “points-based system” which takes different factors like skills and language into account when awarding visas which would allow people to work in the UK.
Points under the system will only be rewarded should the applicant have a job offer from an approved employer and speaks English. Additional points can be obtained if an income threshold is surpassed or the applicant has a PhD in a relevant science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) role.
Up until the end of the UK’s transition period (expected to be 2021), EU citizens do not require a visa or permit to work or reside in the UK. Those from outside the EU are still required to apply under the “four-tier” system as a temporary worker, student, skilled worker or high-value migrant.
So if the UK is soon to adopt a points-based system for both EU citizens and those outside of the European Union, how is this beneficial for CANZUK?
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Simply put, the government is laying the foundation for effective migration arrangements with Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In February, the UK government issued a press release “defining the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and the long-term strategic aims for our national security and foreign policy”. Notably, the wording used in the press release was very similar to the 2019 report endorsed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, highlighting the importance of CANZUK for the UK’s future migration, trade, diplomatic and military cooperation with Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
It is therefore likely that this report will encompass the UK’s future foreign policy objectives, and with such implementations, a foundation of controlled migration from the European Union must first be developed.
It would no doubt be absolute folly to implement the UK’s upcoming CANZUK proposals while also continuing free movement with the European Union. Instead, the new points-based immigration system lays the foundation for an equal playing field of skilled migrants upon which preferential agreements with Canada, Australia and New Zealand can be formulated later in the government’s tenure.
This template also follows the immigration system between Australia and New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement. Although each country has implemented a points-based system for migrants outside of Australia and New Zealand, citizens of each country still benefit from facilitated migration – a system which Canada and the UK can eventually join through diplomatic arrangements.
The UK government’s new immigration system is a strong foundation to build CANZUK migration and trade agreements, and CANZUK International will continue to work with Members of Parliament to ensure future arrangements between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK are introduced as soon as possible.
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