In an effort to boost economic growth and fill shortages, Rishi Sunak has proposed a new “growth visa” that would allow foreign workers to enter the UK.
The idea of a visa route to boost economic growth was first announced by PM’s predecessor Liz Truss and is still being discussed as an option for the UK.Downing Street Source Confirmed on Thursday
Prime Minister Sunak has pledged to bring down net migration in order to fulfil a 2019 Tory Manifesto pledge. He also backed this new visa scheme which is designed for skilled entrepreneurs and migrants who won’t come to the UK.
As a chancellor in a speech earlier this year, he cited figures which show that nearly half of the UK’s science and engineering researchers were immigrants. He also noted many companies in Britain have an immigrant founder who helped start them up with their innovative ideas.
This “growth visa” is a cross-Government project by Ms Truss. It is an innovative way to ensure the UK has enough skilled workers for its infrastructure projects in wind, rail, nuclear energy, digital, telecommunications and roads.
His move could put him at odds with Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who said her long-term ambition is to reduce net migration down to the tens of thousands.
The Home Office is concerned that records will be broken when the ONS releases its report on November 24th, which could show net migration at a high level. This would spark a backlash from Brexit-voting citizens who wish to take back control of UK borders.
Migration experts said that they would not be surprised even if net migration passed the previous post-war high of 390K in 2015. This represents a sharp increase from what was previously reported at 239K for the year to June 2021.
Mr Robert Jenrick and Ms Braverman, the immigration ministers have been working hard to reduce net migration by reining in what students can bring with them as dependents or tightening rules for those staying after graduation.
They are trying to square the circle by using an already existing points-based immigration system for skilled workers and plug shortages while cracking down on the abuse of the old policy.
There were areas where fast-track visas make sense. He cited previous examples such as those for social and health care which had brought in thousands of doctors in order to solve the UK’s NHS crisis!
He said the UK government wants to pressure companies into training their domestic staff as there are 5 million economically inactive people in Great Britain.
The points based system has seen an increase in the number of people coming into country. We have an overall goal of bringing down immigration but we need smart and intelligent ways that will bring in people who can work for our public services, while pushing business owners toward being more productive so wages could go up.Mr Robert Jenrick
Home Office data released this summer showed that more than one million foreign nationals were allowed to live, study and work in the UK for an entire year. The number of visas issued increased by over 80%.
The number of students in the UK has risen by 60% from 256K to reach 411k. There is also a huge increase in the number of dependents they brought by 170% from 29,700 to 81,100.
Home Office ministers are planning to restrict the right of undergraduate students to bring in dependents and limit it only to graduates on master’s or PhD courses students. They also plan on cracking down on those who remain in the UK with low-paid jobs after graduating.
Ms Braverman has proposed measures to restrict foreign students from uneconomic low-quality courses and crack down upon those who do not complete their program but remain in Britain.
Despite calls from the industry for an increase to at least 60K low-skilled agricultural workers, it is expected that the number will be capped at 30K to 40K.
Lord Wolfson, the CEO of High Street chain Next and an avid Brexit supporter has advised that firms should pay taxes for employing foreign workers as it will make them more inclined towards recruiting locally first before inviting others from abroad.
The Home Office has submitted evidence to the OBR on how they plan to reduce the net migration following short-term rises, which will be used by OBR in forecasting future growth.
The UK is attracting a lot of people who want to come and live here. The numbers have been increasing steadily, with half of those coming to stay for at least 2-3 years and most of them will be gone in 4-5 years. We’re going high net migration until these figures settle down.