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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, responds to the Government’s policy statement on the UK’s new points-based immigration system.

Commenting, Ryan Shorthouse, Director of Bright Blue, said:

“The Government’s future points-based immigration system for all skilled workers is a significant improvement on the current Tier 2 system for non-EU migrants. It lowers the skills and salary threshold for entry, even allowing those seeking employment in particular professions and with impressive educational qualifications to be admitted on an ever lower salary than the general threshold. This will enable a wider range of especially young people with significant potential to enter and ultimately contribute to our economy. Being welcoming of skilled migrants chimes with public opinion. A majority of the British public, and even Conservative Party voters, do not want to see a reduction in the number of skilled migrants.

“But the proposed new immigration system could be improved. The Government should seek to expand the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa scheme, building reciprocal relationships with more countries including within the EU, which could be a popular route for young, low-skilled and temporary migrants. And the Government should allow migrants to gain more tradable points for working in regions outside London and South-East, to support the rebalancing of the economy.”

Bright Blue’s previous analysis showed that a majority of the British public, including Conservative Party voters, do not want to see a reduction in the number of skilled professional and manual workers.
We welcome the adoption of two policies recommended by Bright Blue:
  • The lowering of the general salary threshold of £30,000 for skilled migrants, as originally proposed by the UK Government.
  • For criteria other than just a salary threshold for determining eligibility for skilled migration