UK: Supposedly Tough New Immigration Points System to Make It Easier for Foreigners to Stay as Non-Skilled Workers

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The Boris Johnson administration’s supposedly tough new “points-based immigration system” will make it even easier for foreign students to stay in Britain as unskilled workers, Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced.

“International students make an invaluable social, cultural, and economic contribution to UK campuses and the wider society. During the pandemic, students have continued to choose our world-leading colleges and universities, knowing it will bring them lifelong benefits, even as competitors in the global market closed their borders to students from overseas,” Patel wrote in an article for The Telegraph, appearing to boast about the relatively lax approach to border control which the Tories have adopted throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want the brightest and best to be able to stay and carry on contributing to our society. That is why I am delighted to launch the Graduate Immigration route,” the Home Secretary added.

“This will allow international graduates who have come, and succeeded, at one of our universities to continue their journey after study, giving them the chance to find work.

“They will be able to remain in the UK for at least two years to work once they have successfully completed their studies,” she explained.

The catch, however, is that foreign graduates will not be required to secure graduate jobs during this period, and will be allowed to take up the sort of non-skilled positions which many working-class Britons will be scrabbling for amid the heavy job losses the pandemic and associated lockdowns have triggered in sectors such as hospitality.

Migration Watch UK, a migration-sceptic think tank, said that reviving the “failed and flawed post-study work route” — previously curbed by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary — “will increase immigration and add to the population,” insisting that “This is NOT what the public wants”.

The think tank said the scheme was “uncapped”, “requires no job offer”, “allows applicants to work in the lowest-paid jobs (or not work at all)”, and “doesn’t require employers to check for local workers first”.

This appears to be confirmed by a government press release announcing the scheme, which notes: “The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers.”

While Patel and the government at large insist that the new immigration route “is another example of how our points-based immigration system will work for the benefit of the UK”, critics contend that a points-based system had been sold to the public as a policy which would reduce mass immigration, not increase it.

This the Johnson administration has signally failed to achieve, with non-EU immigration rising significantly prior to the pandemic and illegal boat migration continuing to set new records up to the present day, while deportations of foreign criminals, for example, have fallen precipitously.

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