The Conservatives have said that they will introduce a points-based, Australia-style immigration system if they win the December 12th General Election.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the measures on Monday, saying: “When people voted to leave in 2016, they were voting to take back control of our borders. After Brexit, we will introduce an Australia-style points-based immigration system and take steps to strengthen our border and improve the security of the UK.”
While the Tories have said that they will “take back control of our borders”, they have not committed to capping immigration as they had done in previous manifestos. The Tories had pledged to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands” in three successive elections — a promise which former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne admitted the party had no intention of fulfilling.
Last month, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had criticised the Tories for ditching the cap, saying: “Yet more meaningless manifesto pledges from the Conservatives on immigration. Will they cut numbers or raise them? It seems they have given up on the former.”
Australia’s immigration system is far more strict and skills-based focused than the current British system. In order to move to Australia to work, an immigrant would need to be pursuing an in-demand job. Applicants are also assigned points based on professional experience, English proficiency, education level, and age.
A major difference between Australia’s system and Boris Johnson’s proposed system is that there is a cap, set at 160,000 people a year in the antipodean nation. The number had been 190,000, but was cut by 15 per cent in March and came into effect in July. Furthermore, the immigration requirements include barring foreigners from living in some of the country’s biggest cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, for three years.
The Australian government’s decision was in response to massive urban congestion and rising housing prices in cities as well as the need for more workers in other regions. A September 2018 poll had revealed that 63 per cent of Sydney residents backed controlling the number of new immigrants moving to the city.
Speaking of the immigration reforms, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in May: “This is a practical problem that Australians wanted addressed.”
Meanwhile, London’s population is set to hit 10 million within a decade, with net migration a primary cause.
Population of London to Hit 10 Million Within a Decade, Driven by Immigration https://t.co/f1MGU6GIVo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 10, 2019
The Conservatives have said that European Union citizens will be required to obtain pre-approval before visiting the UK, akin to an American-style Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Esta), as an increased security measure. The Home Office will also bar EU citizens with serious criminal convictions from entering the country at all.
They would also introduce automatic entrance and exit checks to determine exactly how many visitors and immigrants are in the country. In a stunning admission, Ms Patel told The Telegraph “we don’t really know how many people are in the country” because Brussels’ freedom of movement rules makes counting EU migrants difficult.
The home secretary said: “Earlier this year, the Office for National Statistics downgraded its immigration statistics to ‘experimental’.
“In other words, they don’t know how many people are coming into the country or who they are.”
Far-left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed that freedom of movement from the EU could never end because of familial chain migration and employment needs. Mr Corbyn told Sky News: “I don’t think free movement totally could ever come to an end because of the relationship between families, between Britain and Europe, the needs of all of our services.”
Taking Back Control? Non-EU Immigration Rises to Near-record Levels https://t.co/03BT0OHbhg
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 30, 2019