With the UK general election announced for the 12 December, political leaders from across the spectrum have been giving their 2 cents on the state of the country and how they would bring about change. No surprise, that immigration has once again become a hot button topic with politicians offering widely contrasting visions. This blog hopes to highlight the position offers by the main political parties and show how this may impact you.
Australia’s point-based immigration system
Conservatives have often lauded the “Australian points-based system” as model Britain should adopt. Priti Patel, the government’s Home Minister, has vowed that if the government was re-elected, they would curb overall migration but will be more open and flexible for high-skilled migrants.
Economist Philippe Legrain has remarked that the analogy to an “Australiana points-based system” is consistently made as it sounds sensible and objective as well as polling well with voters. However, under the cover of implementing a more meritocratic system, the UK has shifted its immigration system to be quite different to Australia’s.
He further notes that if politicians are simply using the Australian system as code for tougher immigration restrictions it is worth noting that Australia accepts three times as many people as Britain.
This has left a great deal of ambiguity surrounding conservative policy on immigration but what has been made clear is an ambition to end free movement with the EU; discourage low-skilled migration; and, encourage skilled and educated migrants.
In a previous blog, on how Brexit could favour immigration outside of London, we discussed the backlash the government has faced in unveiling their policy. Research undertaken by Canterbury Christ Church University detailed how important low-skilled migration is to the UK economy. For more information follow the link above.
Under a Conservative government, we may see a greater focus on innovator, start-up, investor visas as well as their new graduate route. This aims to allow international students to stay in the country two years after their studies to find a suitable job.
Read our previous blog post on post-study routes here.
Freedom of movement
Whilst the Conservative party has not committed to specific numbers or targets, they have a clear goal of reducing overall migration. This has worried EU nationals who may be subject to administrative removals.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has not commented on whether immigration would increase or decrease under labour leadership. He has stated, however, that an immigration policy would be based on fairness, justice and the economic needs of Britain.
This has led to similar ambiguity and confusion, especially over the issue of freedom of movement.
The issue of freedom of movement has caused a stark division within the Labour party with Len McCluskey, Unite trade union general secretary, is a fierce proponent of ending free movement with the EU. In contrast, figures such as Diane Abbot have argued for the extension of free movement.
Asylum and Deportation
A chief concern for Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbot has been the plight of asylum seekers and those subject to administrative removal. Abbot has firmly opposed the government on these issues which have been thrown under the spotlight due to the Windrush scandal.
The Windrush scandal refers to at least 83 cases in which people who had come to the UK prior to 1973 were wrongfully subject to detention, denied their legal rights and threatened with deportation.
Abbot has claimed that a Labour government would remove detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood which has been accused of inhospitable conditions and instances of sexual violence. She has further called for an end to the “hostile environment” of the Conservative government.
Under a Labour government, we are likely to see a greater focus on human rights issues such as the family reunion; supporting asylum seekers applicants; and, creating a more hospitable environment for migrants in precarious positions.
What can Westkin promise?
With the turbulence of British electoral politics, there is a great deal of uncertainty in all aspects of immigration. The future is uncertain, but Westkin Associates has both the experience and skill to respond to the dynamic and evolving landscape of UK immigration law. Whether you are hoping to start-up your latest tech company or you are trying to remain with your family, Westkin is here for you.
To get your immigration application started,
Call us at: 0207 118 4546
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