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MPs Give Initial Backing to New Points-Based System Immigration Bill

MPs Give Initial Backing to New Points-Based System Immigration Bill

MPs have given their initial backing to the new points-based system immigration bill by 351 votes to 252. If the new bill passes through the parliamentary process, freedom of movement for EU citizens will officially end. It will now go through parliamentary scrutiny.

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MPs Give Initial Backing to New Points-Based System Immigration Bill

MPs have given their initial backing to the government’s new points-based system immigration bill. On Monday night, the controversial legislation, the Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) bill, passed the first stage in the parliamentary process, paving the way for its eventual implementation.

The immigration bill will repeal EU freedom of movement and introduce the new framework for who can come to live in the UK. Home Secretary Priti Patel has labelled the new immigration bill as “firmer, fairer and simpler” and said that it will lead to a “high skill” economy.

Patel said:

“The bill before us today will play a vital role in our recovery plans for the future. It will end free movement and pave the way for our new points-based immigration system.”

With a Conservative Commons majority of 80, the bill passed easily by 351 votes to 252. It will now go onto further parliamentary scrutiny.

No Changes to Points-based System Immigration Bill

Patel has resisted pressure to soften the immigration bill amid criticism from many that the new bill will alienate many key workers who have risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the most vociferous critics has been Labour shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds. In the Commons, Thomas-Symonds criticised the government’s position, whilst also suggesting that the bill contradicted ministers’ participation in the Thursday “clap for carers” tribute.

Critics have said that the coronavirus pandemic has shifted public attitudes towards immigration, including changing opinions on those deemed to be “unskilled”.

“Those who clapped [for carers] on Thursday are only too happy to vote through a bill that will send a powerful message to those same people – that they are not considered by this government to be skilled workers,” Mr Thomas-Symonds said.

“Are shop workers unskilled? Are refuse collectors? Are local government workers? Are NHS staff? Are care workers? Of course they are not,” he said.

Critics have said that the coronavirus pandemic has shifted public attitudes towards immigration, including changing opinions on those deemed to be “unskilled”.

British Future, an independent think tank, released a poll on Monday which revealed that 64% of the public agree that “the coronavirus crisis has made me value the role of ‘low-skilled’ workers, in essential services such as care homes, transport and shops, more than before”. Just 9% disagreed with the statement.

A Fair Policy?

The government’s new points-based system will award points in different areas. Points will be awarded for having a job offer from an approved employer, being able to speak English to a certain standard and meeting a salary threshold of £25,600.

There will also be points awarded if the position being filled is in an occupation with a skills shortage, and if the person holds certain qualifications.

The proposed bill would virtually end any scope for employers to recruit staff from abroad who need less than the equivalent of A levels in England. This would mean that the recruitment of many of the large numbers of foreign workers currently employed in in the NHS and care homes, such as health care assistants, would be barred.

Mr Thomas-Symonds pointed out one example of a worker who had lived in the UK since 2013, and was working as a 24-hour live-in carer for an elderly woman with dementia. Thomas-Symonds asked:

“Are we to believe that a 24-hour live-in carer is in unskilled work, because that’s what the government wants us to believe?”

Ms Patel has scrapped previous plans for a transition period for the new arrangements and has insisted that the bill must come into effect in January 2021. She also rejected virtually all calls for special arrangements for sectors which will face the hardest task recruiting staff.

Ms Patel has scrapped previous plans for a transition period for the new arrangements and has insisted that the bill must come into effect in January 2021.

Despite significant criticism, Patel said that it was vital that the government delivers on the government’s election promises and will therefore not reconsider the bill or other immigration policy.

The Home Secretary also emphasised the promise of a fast-track NHS visa, stating that it would make it easier and quicker for medical professionals from around the world to work in the health service in the UK.

Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out more about how the new points-based system could affect you and your family’s future, or to arrange your first session with one of our expert lawyers. Birmingham Immigration Lawyers is here to help you.