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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, responds to the Government’s new white paper The UK’s future skills-based immigration system.

This white paper adopts two Bright Blue policy recommendations:

  • Expand the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme to more countries, including in the EU.
  • Extend the amount of time an international student on a Tier 4 visa can remain in the UK on their current visa following the end of their course, above and beyond what was currently proposed by the Migration Advisory Committee.

Director of Bright Blue, Ryan Shorthouse, said:

    “The Government is right to commit, post-Brexit, to ending free movement from the EU. Introducing an immigration system where the UK government can control the number and type of all migrants admitted – and establish different rules for entry based more on the skills rather than nationality of the migrant – is popular, progressive and desirable.”
    “It is vital that the Prime Minister is persuaded to drop the arbitrary, indiscriminate and failed net migration target. This lumps all migrants together, when the public clearly differentiate between different types of migrants, based mainly on the perceived contribution they will make. Indeed, abolishing the cap on skilled Tier 2 migrants is very wise.”
    “The Government is fixated on restricting eligibility, for both work and family visas, solely on the basis of minimum salary thresholds, which are blunt instruments. A blanket £30,000 minimum salary threshold for all migrants seeking a Tier 2 visa would be foolishly and unnecessarily high. This will deprive the UK of young talent, especially in some economic sectors, who could make a tremendous contribution to the UK in the long-term.”
    “It is good that the Government is offering a temporary route for low-skilled workers, and seeking to extend the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries, as Bright Blue has recommended. But we have to be prepared for the fact that in forthcoming negotiations, the EU – and, in fact, other countries we are seeking trade deals with – will likely seek much more preferential access for their citizens looking to migrate to the UK.”