In the first report published under the new Government, the Migration Advisory Committee (the MAC) have advised against a proposed Australian style points-based immigration system post-Brexit (Boris Johnson’s preferred system).
Instead, the MAC have proposed a mixed system, comprised of a minimum salary threshold for migrants entering the country with an offer of employment, and a points-based system for those entering the country without a job offer.
Although the MAC expects its proposals to lead to reduced total GDP and levels of immigration, it also predicts slight increases to GDP per capita, productivity and the stability of public finances, by reducing pressure on the NHS, schools and social housing.
In responding to the reports, Downing Street have indicated that the plans to implement a full-scale Australian style points-based system will remain in force, despite the MAC's proposals. That said, the committee's research and recommendations are likely to guide future immigration policy changes.
In addition to the recommendations regarding the application of a points-based system to skilled migrants without a job offer only, the report proposes to lower the minimum salary threshold to £25,600 (from £30,000) per annum, which is intended to facilitate the migration for NHS staff and teachers, as well as migrants at early stages in their career to move to the UK.
The proposals also set out a pilot visa aimed at attracting migrants to more remote parts of the UK.
Despite the report, the UK looks set for large-scale changes to the current immigration system after the end of the transition period post-Brexit. In the meantime, we hope that the government heed the words of warning from Professor Alan Manning, chair of the MAC "The government should ensure that the mistakes of previous UK points-based systems are not repeated".
The government has alluded to the desirability of an Australian points-based system for months, without explaining how this might work. This report gives the first assessment of whether provides a desirable model for the UK economy.