The leaders of the official Vote Leave campaign just proposed a radical new immigration plan that could see Britain bar migrants for not speaking English or having a skilled enough job.
Politicians Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and other MPs, such as Conservative politician Priti Patel and the Labour party member Gisela Stuart, confirmed in a statement seen by a range of media outlets such as The Telegraph, the BBC, and The Times, that the pro-Brexit camp want to emulate Australia by implementing a points-based system for all migrants coming to the UK.
It means if voters opt to leave the European Union — dubbed a Brexit — in the upcoming referendum migrants could find themselves excluded from the EU for poor language skills or on the ground that their job isn’t deemed important enough.
Here are some key extracts from the statement:
By the next general election, we will create a genuine Australian-style points-based immigration system.The automatic right of all EU citizens to come to live and work in the UK will end, as will EU control over vital aspects of our social security system.
Those seeking entry for work or study should be admitted on the basis of their skills without discrimination on the ground of nationality. To gain the right to work, economic migrants will have to be suitable for the job in question. For relevant jobs, we will be able to ensure that all those who come have the ability to speak good English.
We think that this system will be fairer, more humane, and better for the economy. We will welcome new citizens who wish to contribute to our society, as so many immigrants have done. And we will be able to remove those who abuse our hospitality.
If Britain does opt for a Brexit, the points system would mean that people who apply to come to the UK will have to adhere to a grading system to be granted a visa to live and work here. Points would be calculated on your ability to speak English, your skills, your earning power and various other elements, such as your age.
The statement confirmed that if these proposals were implemented, it would not apply to Irish citizens or for EU citizens who are already live in Britain.
Immigration is arguably the number one issue for supporters of a Brexit and Vote Leave’s proposals could be seen as populist. Net migration to Britain reached 333,000 in 2015. This was a 20,000 increase on the year ending December 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s “Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.“
If Britain left the EU it wouldn’t have to adhere to the Freedom of Movement Act, which allows all EU citizens to easily migrate to any other member state. It’s likely that the UK would then apply immigration rules to any non-British citizen looking to live in the country.
At the moment, there are barely any restrictions in terms of EU nationals coming to Britain. All you need is to hold an EU passport to come live and work in the UK.
For non-EU nationals, Britain has a two-tier skilled worker visa criteria.
1. The migrant needs to have a graduate-level role.
2. The salary for the job must be more than £20,800. The earnings threshold increases though to £30,000 from April 2017.
So the Vote Leave proposal isn’t completely out of this world. It also could be a reality.
ICM’s latest EU referendum phone poll conducted for The Guardian newspaper shows that there was an incredible 14-point swing in favour of Britain leaving the 28-nation bloc since the research firm last surveyed public opinion earlier this month.
This means that the Leave campaign has gone from trailing Remain by 10 points in mid-May (45 / 55%) to enjoying a four-point lead at the end of the month (52 / 48%).