Boris Johnson has stated that he will push for introducing an immigration system modelled on a so-called Australian-style points system, bringing back a key leave campaign pledge that post referendum was discarded.
Johnson’s pledge could pave the way to abandoning the Conservatives’ net migration target, Johnson said the country needed to be more open to ‘highly skilled’ immigrants and tougher on those who ‘abused’ the UK’s ‘hospitality’. He then also stated his proposal was not intended to suggest he would abandon the current proposed immigration bill.
Johnson’s camp have indicated that the new Prime Minister would give new instructions to the migration advisory committee (MAC) to investigate the idea of a points-based system.
The MAC will be asked to calculate how people can be admitted to the UK, and in what numbers, on the basis of specific criteria, including by examining the Australian points system.
“We will restore democratic control of immigration policy after we leave the EU,” Johnson said. “We must be much more open to high-skilled immigration, such as scientists, but we must also assure the public that as we leave the EU, we have control over the number of unskilled immigrants coming into the country.”
Responding to proposals for a future immigration system proposed today by Boris Johnson, UKHospitality has reiterated the need for policy to fully focus on supporting businesses to deliver economic growth, above political considerations.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, commented:
“The future immigration policy announced last December was disastrous for hospitality and the wider UK economy.
“Since then UKHospitality and businesses across a huge range of sectors have made the case that a more pragmatic approach will help to grow the UK economy, and the Government has seemingly accepted this position.
“Moving towards a point-based system has inherent risks, not least the potential for too much Government intervention in the labour market – something Conservatives have fought against for many years.
“Existing proposals need to be adapted to back business and those who want to work in the UK, rather than shutting the door on economic growth.
“The Government also needs to refocus on helping hospitality to develop its UK workforce through effective apprenticeships and a further education system that delivers the homegrown talent that industry needs.”
H&C News’ view is that Johnson’s pledge and his subsequent statements leave enough room to drive quite a few buses through. For hospitality ‘unskilled immigrants’ are vital to our workforce and as such we need to lobby to ensure a flow of EU migrants can continue to underpin the services hospitality delivers.