A recent report published by the Migration Advisory Committee has suggested what immigration may look like post-Brexit in the UK. The report has recommended ending the free movement for citizens who live in EEA countries. As well as this, the report advises extending the current non-EEA visa application system to all immigrants, no matter which country they are from.
Currently, if citizens of a country which is not in the EEA country wish to come and live in the UK, they normally have to apply for a ‘Tier 2 visa’ ( https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general). To be eligible for this visa, the person applying for the visa must have been offered a skilled job in the UK. The employer themselves needs to become a licenced sponsor, of which there is a strict limit of 20700 per year, along with a fee. The salary that the employee needs to be paid is usually at least £30,000. Not only this, they need to prove that they have at least £945 worth of savings for at least 90 days before they can apply.
What Could Be Different Post-Brexit?
The Committee has proposed getting rid of the existing cap on the number of Tier 2 (General) visas that it issues. They will also allow both “medium-skilled” and “highly-skilled” applicants to apply for a Tier 2 visa. Because the pre-existing £30,000 cap is likely to be kept in place, this means there will be no route for “low-skilled” workers such as cleaners to live and work in the UK, according to Handy Cleaners.
The Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted in the past at a possible pilot program for those who work seasonally in agriculture, which are often attributed to low wages. Despite this, she appears reluctant to extend this to other industries and sectors. It is thought she wants UK workers to take on these low-skilled vacancies in the hospitality and social care sectors.
Businesses who rely on migrants to fill their low skilled vacancies have reacted angrily to the news, with many saying that UK workers will not take on these jobs. Many businesses in the hospitality sector say that they may need to close due to the shortage of labour that will be available for them to run effectively once Brexit happens (more info).
There are currently Tier 3 visas available for low-skilled workers, but whether these visas will continue remains to be seen. It is clear something will need to be done once Brexit does indeed happen for businesses who are looking to fill vacancies in areas where UK workers traditionally don’t want to work in.