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Island to 'carefully consider' UK's points-based immigration system

News | Published:

HOME AFFAIRS is to look at plans to introduce a points-based immigration system in the island.

Home Secretary Priti Patel meets students and staff working on 'carbon capture' at Imperial College London in South Kensington, London where she announced plans for a new points-based immigration system. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Guernsey could follow suit on recent plans from the UK government to introduce a ‘points-based’ post-Brexit immigration system if Home Affairs considers it to be an appropriate system within the island.

The Home Office system would require overseas citizens to reach 70 points to be able to work in the UK, with speaking English and having the offer of a skilled job with an approved sponsor giving them 50 points.

To obtain additional points, individuals’ qualifications, offered salary and selected job with sector shortages would be considered. This means that low-skilled workers would not get visas under post-Brexit immigration plans, rather they would have to earn the points to qualify for entry into the country.

Home Affairs president Mary Lowe said they would consider their position when it comes to immigration.

‘The Committee for Home Affairs will carefully consider the proposed UK system and through the local Immigration and Nationality Service will be liaising as appropriate with all interested parties, including His Excellency the Lt-Governor, Alderney and Sark to determine the appropriate system for the Bailiwick,’ she said.

She added as part of the Common Travel Area, an open borders area comprising the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland, Guernsey would let that guide their decision-making process while taking into account what the island needs.

‘In order for the CTA to function effectively we align our immigration legislation and policies to facilitate travel within that area whilst ensuring we collectively keep the CTA secure,’ she said.

‘As part of that relationship it has always been recognised that each jurisdiction has its own economic and community requirements and therefore applies work permit policies that cater for their specific needs, while in a Guernsey context also adhering with local Population Management.’

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Currently, workers from European Economic Area countries, an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union’s single market to non-EU member parties, including Romania and Croatia, currently have the automatic right to live and work in the UK irrespective of their salary or skill level.

Once introduced in the UK, the points-based immigration system would mean low-skilled workers will not receive visas and EU and non-EU citizens coming to the UK would be treated equally after UK-EU free movement ends on 31 December, when the 11-month post-Brexit transition period is due to finish.

The idea is to urge employers to rely less on European labour, classed as ‘cheap labour’ and invest in retaining staff. It is not clear how the EU would respond.

Other countries who have points-based systems include Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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