British prime minister Boris Johnson’s Australian-style points system for migrants has been criticised by experts for failing to understand the importance of low and medium-skilled jobs to the UK economy.
Johnson has pledged to introduce an Australian-style points-based system to restore “public faith” in immigration control. Under the system, foreigners who want to work in the UK will have to be able to speak English and must have a job before they arrive in the country.
But according to Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College London and senior fellow at the research group UK in a Changing Europe, this system would not let in immigrants whose skills are vital for UK’s economy.
“There’s a damaging misconception in this debate that there’s a binary divide between the brain surgeons and the people who pick strawberries – most ordinary immigrants are somewhere in between,” Portes was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“Doing jobs that require skills but aren’t necessarily highly skilled, and they would not pass this particular test.
“Butchers, for example, or people who work in abattoirs – this is hard work and you need training. Most come from eastern Europe but are unlikely to make the highly skilled cut.”
Johnson’s plans for strict restrictions on EU immigration after Brexit have also been criticised by business chiefs who say there’s a heavy emphasis on the brightest and best.
“Low-level skills are still very much in demand for business,” Matthew Fell, Confederation of British Industry’s chief policy director was quoted as saying by the Independent.
“Many industries are dependent on such workers, from hospitality and construction to agriculture and the care sector.
“Workers needed to boost economic growth must feel welcome in the UK. Until there is more detail, these plans will leave them nervous.”