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Migration and the UK

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CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Canada introduced the first points system in the late 1960s. This approach was subsequently adopted by Australia in 1989, New Zealand in 1991, the Czech Republic in 2003, Singapore in 2004, Hong Kong in 2006, Denmark in 2007 and the United Kingdom in 2008. Even the European Union has tentatively sought to push a ‘blue’ card proposal designed to offer freedom of movement throughout the EU to the most highly skilled non-EU workers. However, as the proposal stands it would not offer permanent residency and is only valid for two years, albeit on a renewable basis. EU member states are now in the process of adopting the new rules although doubts remain about whether it will generate much take-up. Governments have found the point’s system approach attractive for a number of reasons: Economic, Fiscal and Political. In March 2006, the Home Office presented Command Paper 6741 to Parliament entitled A Points-Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain. Within this document lie the structure of the PBS, how it differs from previous immigration policies, and thorough explanations of its different components. To fully understand how and why the PBS came into existence, it is essential to examine, analyse and ultimately criticize this document. By comprehending the PBS‟s stated purpose and desired outcome alongside its deficiencies and expected and unexpected outcomes, it will be possible to determine where it truly fits into British immigration policy. The Home Office introduced the new point based system for immigration. The system awards points to workers from outside the European Area (EEA) for skills that reflect experience, age etc. In terms of the education sector, there are two main aims to this legislation:
  1. To reduce the number of illegal students and educational establishments
  2. To keep a tight rein on who can enter the country and when.
PURPOSE OF THE PBS Home Secretary Charles Clarke (6) stated that “achieving greater public confidence in the immigration system remains one of my top priorities as Home Secretary” (2006). (7) As “the most significant change to managed migration in the last 40 years” (2006), the PBS‟s purpose is to clearly designate who is allowed into the UK and on what pretext. As part of a five-year strategy to overhaul the British asylum and immigration system (8), the PBS replaced a previously complex and subjective system with a standardized process that would, in theory, be easier both for applicants as for the deciding government. Part of the belief behind the PBS is that migration would be managed; it will also secure borders and prevent abuses to the system, it will be economically and culturally beneficial to UK. Some of the benefits of migration listed include the disproportionate contribution of migrants to the British economy (in 2001 they contributed 10%GDP while composing only 8% of those employed), its role in filling in gaps in the labour market, the secondary effects of increases in investment, innovation and entrepreneurship, and its social and cultural contribution to modern British society (Cm 6741, 2006: 1, 5). In the introduction to the Points-Based System, three benefits were stated as the desired outcomes of the new system: better identification and attraction of migrants with the most to contribute to the UK; an efficient, transparent and objective application process and a reduced scope for abuse of the system (Cm 6741, 2006:1, 9). Together with these contributions was the expectation that the modifications would create a more streamlined process that would be “simpler to understand and the rules for entry clearer and more consistently applied” (2006:1). This, in turn, would allow the British public to more clearly understand who is allowed in and why. The accomplishment of these goals would be achieved through a five Tier framework that International Migration
  • In 2013 around 526,000 people migrated to the UK and 314,000 migrated from the UK. Net migration into the UK was 212,000, which was higher than 2012.The annual change was not statistically significant.
  • Estimate so f net migrations in the period 2001 to 2011 have been revised to reflect the results of the 2011 Census. The ONS is notable to separately revise estimates of immigration and emigration in the same way. The revised estimates are shown alongside the original estimates in the table.
  • In 2012 London was the destination for 26% of all long term migrants to the UK. Northern Ireland was the only UK region that did not experience net inward migration of international migrants in 2012.
  • In 2013, 201,000 citizens of EU28 countries migrated to the UK 38%of the total number of immigrants. In the same year 78,000 citizens of EU 28 countries migrated from the UK. Emigration from the UK total led 314,000, of which134, 000 were British citizens.
To qualify in each Tier, applicants must have sufficient points according to the criteria of the scheme. The government vigorously promoted the transparency, objectivity, and flexibility of the PBS. However, in significant respects, the PBS lacks these characteristics, at least so far as applicants are concerned. The Select Committee on Home Affairs reported on the PBS in July 2009 (Managing Migration: The Points Based System, Thirteenth Report of Session 2008–09 HC 217–I). Its overall conclusion was (p. 309) that, while the scheme as a whole, received a ‘cautious welcome’, several key structures required further consideration. Since then, however, the PBS has become less flexible, more complex and restrictive, and there are reports of considerable delays in dealing with in-country applications (Home Affairs Committee (2013) The Work of the UK Border Agency (January–March 2013) Eighth Report of Session 2013–14, p. 62). Any applicant under the PBS pays a substantial fee to have one shot at getting a complex application right. There were problems with the quality of decision-making from the outset (see Wray 2009:239). A 2010 report by the UK Council for International Student Affairs found that 10 per cent of student applicants believed that their first application had been unreasonably refused, affecting perceptions of the UK as a welcoming destination (UKCISA (2010) Students’ Experiences of Extending their Visas in the UK under Tier 4). The Chief Inspector’s inspection of Tier 2 applications in 2010 found much to commend in staff practice and attitudes but also an over-complex system and inconsistencies in practice between posts (Chief Inspector UK Border Agency (2010) A Thematic Inspection of the Points-Based System: Tier 2 (Skilled Workers) July–August 2010). Recent reports have been more positive but still found problems with the quality of service in student applications (Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (2012) An Inspection of Tier 4 of the Points-Based System (Students) April–July 2012). A 2011 survey by UKCISA found improvements but also that poor information, the pace of change, refusal due to minor errors, the cost of the application process, and the reintroduction of judgments on English language proficiency caused problems for a significant number of applicants (UKCISA (2011) The UKCISA Tier 4 Student Survey 2011). The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has played an extensive role in the development of the PBS. It is an independent, advisory, non-statutory committee established by the government in 2007 and is central to government claims that the PBS is determined by objectively assessed criteria. According to its terms of reference, it will provide independent and evidence-based advice to Government on specific sectors and occupations in the labour market where shortages exist which can sensibly be filled by migration...The government may, from time to time, ask the MAC to advise on other matters relating to migration. The MAC is independent of government. It has several functions but the most significant are to identify which jobs come within the description of graduate-level employment for the purposes of Tier 2 and to review the list of shortage occupations. It has also, at the request of government, carried out other tasks including, most recently, assessing the impact of closing the Seasonal Agricultural Workers and Sectors Based Schemes although, as discussed in what follows, the government does not always follow their recommendations. Criteria for Points The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended changes 09/09 implemented which took effect from 6th April, 2010. Criteria for Points What UKBA awards points for Points awarded: [1]
Criteria for Points What UKBA awards points for Points awarded
Sponsorship Up to 50 points
  • If the job is on the shortage occupations list
  • Transitional arrangements
  • If the job meets the resident labour market test
  • Switching from a post-study category
  • Extension
  • 50
  • 50
  • 30
  • 30
  • 30
Qualifications Up to 15 points available
  • PhD or Master’s degree and above
  • Bachelor’s degree or above
  • GCE A-level or equivalent or above
  • None, or below GCE A-level
  • 15
  • 10
  • 5
  • 0
Prospective earnings Up to 25 points available
  • £32,000+
  • £28,000-£31,999.00
  • £24,000-£27,999.99
  • £20,000-23,999.99
  • Under £20,000
  • 25
  • 20
  • 15
  • 10
  • 0
Maintenance 10 points mandatory £800 if the migrant is applying from inside the UK £800 if the migrant is applying from outside the UK And £533 for each dependent
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
English Language Skills 10 points mandatory If the migrant is a national of a majority English speaking country Or If the migrant has passed an English language test Or If the migrant has a degree taught in English
  • 10
In order to be eligible to apply under certain categories of the Points Based System, the applicant must have a sponsor which is on the UKBA register of sponsors. The register of sponsors’ lists all organisations that the UK Border Agency has licensed to employ migrant workers or sponsor migrant students. On 31st of March, 2009, the register of sponsors replaced the register of education and training providers published by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills (previously by the Department for Education and Skills).[2] Under the points-based system, if you are an employer or education provider who wants to act as a sponsor, you will need a licence. When you get a licence, you are added to the register of sponsors. The register of sponsors’ lists the name, location and sponsor rating of every registered organisation. Only certain organisations/employers can be eligible for licences. Licences can only be applied for if:-
  1. The potential sponsor is a legitimate organisation working within the law in the UK.
  2. There are no reasons to believe that the potential sponsor is a threat to immigration control.
  3. The organisation will meet its sponsorship duties.[3]
These criteria are to ensure that those working or studying in the UK do so legally. If the potential sponsor is awarded a sponsor licence, they will be given a sponsor rating - this will be an 'A rating' or a 'B rating', and will be listed on the register. Instead of an A or B rating, Tier 4 (General) sponsors can apply for a Highly Trusted sponsor licence. CONCLUSION The concept of a points-based system has its virtues, but the system now today is in name only. The priority for some years has been to establish a complex instrument of control and this has been made worse by the Coalition government’s drive to curtail migration which caused the end of the few remaining elements of flexibility. There is a contradiction between the avowed intention to ‘make migration work’ for Britain, and the submission of applications to enter for work, study, business, or cultural exchange to an unresponsive and rigid decision-making process. It suggests a narrow vision of policy that is tied to short-term political calculations, a preoccupation with control, and administrative convenience. This is arguably inappropriate as regards economic migration but is surely even more so when applied to students, travellers, artists, academics, and sportspeople who wish to spend time in the UK, exchanging ideas and developing ties whose benefits may be intangible but are vital and long term. REFERENCES Anon., 2006. UN 'International migration report 2006. a global assessment. Anon., 2009. UNDP 'Development Report 2009'. Overcoming Barriers:humnan mobility and development. A Points-Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/.../6741.pdf) https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers Shachar, A., 2006. the race for talent. highly skilled migrants and compepitive immigrations regimes. www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/pointscalculator
[1] www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/pointscalculator [2] https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers [3] www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/pointscalculator
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