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  • With Britain leaving the European Union, its government is preparing to introduce the biggest shake-up of its migration policies in decades.

    With Britain leaving the European Union, its government is preparing to introduce the biggest shake-up of its migration policies in decades. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 January 2020
Opinion

The report also warned that a planned overhaul of the migration system could hit Britain’s economic growth.

The United Kingdom's British Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent body associated with the British Home Office, released a report Tuesday advising the British government that in order to help fill jobs after Brexit, the country should lower a salary threshold for medium and high-skilled migrants to 25,600 pounds (US$33,650) a year, rather than the current 30,000 pounds (US$39,059).

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The government-commissioned report also warned that a planned overhaul of the migration system could hit Britain’s economic growth.

With the country leaving Friday the European Union (EU), its government is preparing to introduce the biggest shake-up of its migration policies in decades, ending the priority granted to migrants from the European bloc over those from other countries.

The proposed changes would make it harder for EU nationals to work in the U.K. after Brexit while benefiting those outside the bloc by reducing the amount they will earn.

Britain’s conservative government tasked the MAC to draw up new salary thresholds for migrants and to set up a points-based migration system, like the one used in Australia, to be implemented once freedom of movement for EU nationals ends.

The MAC said a points-based system inspired by the one in force in Australia should only apply to foreign workers coming to the U.K. without a pre-arranged job offer.

As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to set up a new migration system from the start of next year, the recommendations were intended to help guide him.

Johnson’s spokesman said the government would carefully consider the report before setting out more details of the new system.

“The government will introduce a firmer and fairer points-based immigration system from 2021 that welcomes talent from around the world while reducing low-skilled migrants and bringing overall numbers down,” he said.

Also, EU citizens and their families who have been living in the U.K. for five years can apply for "settled status", which allows them to stay in the UK for as long as they wish. This means they can work in the U.K., use the National Health Service, have access to pensions and benefits and travel in and out of the U.K.

Any child born in the U.K. to a mother with settled status will automatically become a British citizen.

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