London: India definitely sees the positive side of the new immigration system rolled out by UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, as the cap of the number of visas issued in a year, which was previously 20,700 has now been lifted.  It has further removed the mandate that had UK employers advertise positions to UK workers first.

Javid, who is son of an immigrant bus driver, said that the UK is taking a skills-based approach to attract the brightest and best migrants into the country. This ends the previous arrangement that allowed only highly skilled workers from outside the EU to work in the UK whereas workers of all skill levels were allowed from EU countries.

The skilled work visa route will have an annual salary threshold of £30,000 and will require sponsorship from an employer. There will be no resident labour market test and potential migrants with A level skills, who are not graduates could obtain visas.

International students who have completed their studies in Britain can work in Britain for up to six months after their completion of bachelor’s or master’s degree and for up to 12 months after completion of PhD.   Indian student bodies in the UK have however been a demanding a two-year-post work study visa which the system does not allow.

The concerns of the British MPs are the future supply of workers in tourism, construction and agriculture alike many who now come from the UK, but whose salaries do not match the threshold. Javid however stated that the system will remain flexible and there will be schemes introduced for seasonal agricultural work.

A new short-term worker scheme that allows workers in low-skilled jobs that do not meet the salary threshold has also been announced. There can be a switch of employers in this scheme, but no extended stay on visas provided under this scheme will be possible.

In the face of a possible shortage of resources after Britain’s exit from the EU, the new immigration system overhaul based on skills seems to be the right approach. As one door closes, it warrants that another be opened. Opening their arms to equal opportunity to non-EU countries is no doubt highly appreciated by India and others alike as the long-desired change in immigration system has been met to a great extent.