The United Kingdom has a new points-based immigration system that is designed “to attract the brightest and the best from around the world.” In this system, points will be awarded based on one’s skills, professions, salary, or qualifications and qualified individuals can be granted certain fast-track visas.
As part of its promise to restrict free movement after Brexit, the UK created a new system that would allow flexible arrangements and give access to highly-skilled and talented workers. In this system, both European Union and non-EU citizens will be treated equally, and it will take effect starting January 2021.
The points system will also be applicable to international student visas.
Advantages for Indian Students
After considering the suggestions of their advisors from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the government published three proposals.
An applicant needs 70 points to get a visa. All applicants must show that they are able to speak English fluently. For students, they must have an approved offer from an educational institution and the ability to financially support themselves.
That only adds up to 50 points. The additional 20 points will come from their skills and qualifications. Those earning at least £25,600 or around 23.8 lakh can easily gain the additional 20 points needed to qualify. This salary threshold was originally £30,000 but was reduced based on committee recommendations.
For those who do not meet the salary threshold, it is still possible for them to enter the UK if they have a relevant PhD (10 points) or are offered a job that has a shortage in the UK (20 points). An extra 10 points are awarded to those working in the STEM field.
This system works in favor of Indian students as they generally favor STEM programs.
“Today is a historic moment for the whole country,” says Home Department Secretary Priti Patel. “We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”
Sectors like the tourism and social care industries criticized the new system as it would make the existing demand in their fields all the more difficult to fill. It also has a negative effect on immigrants working in low-skilled jobs.
The National Union of Students expressed their concerns about the new system.
“While the reinstatement of two-year post study work visas was a positive step,” said their President Zamzam Ibrahim. “By introducing financial thresholds for EU students it will close access to the UK’s higher education system to all but the richest international students.”
She further adds that it would also discourage international students from graduating in the entrepreneurial, charitable, and creative industries as well as other public sectors that the government feels are less valuable.
Alongside this program, the UK also introduced the Global Talent visa, a fast-track visa system for researchers and scientists. This new visa already started last February 20.
With the new points system, universities and colleges can better access the Indian market to compensate for the potential loss of students as a result of Brexit.