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Briefing paper on UK’s future immigration system published

The House of Common’s library has published a briefing on UK’s future immigration system.  The paper gives an overview of why the immigration system is changing, and what changes to expect.

The paper also goes through the key announcements made by the current government. A summary of these are:

  1. The Queen’s Speech 2019: The 14 October 2019 Queen’s speech announced a further immigration bill, Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. This Bill has not been published but it may be similar to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill2017-19 (introduced by the Theresa May), which has re-surfaced after prorogation was considered unlawful.
  2. Vindaloo Visas: Whilst styled as a new visa, this is a minor amendment to the existing Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List. This has recently been covered by our Solicitor, Bhavneeta Limbachia.
  3. Post-Study Work: The much-await returned of the Post-Study Work visa, which is likely to be renamed as the Graduate Immigration Route. This is likely to be introduced in 2021. We covered this in our recent article.
  4. Global Talent Visa: This announcement was made back in August and is likely to be an expansion of the popular Tier 1 route. The Global Talent Visa is likely to be wider than the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route and is expected to dilute the current stringent requirement. The overhauled version is also expected not to have a yearly cap.
  5. Removal of the net-migration targets: The net-migration has never been reached since it was introduced in 2010. The Prime Minister’s spokesman has confirmed that he is not ‘interested’ in targets.
  6. Amnesty for “illegal immigrants”: Perhaps the most controversial of them all, this announcement is likely to face resistance by the Conservative voter base. However, this is something that has repeatedly appeared in the Prime Minister’s leadership and referendum campaign.
  7. Low-skilled immigration route: The end of freedom of movement has inevitably created a shortage of low-skilled workers. This has meant that the government has had to have a re-think on its low-skilled worker strategy. Whilst there is a Seasonal Worker pilot underway, it is capped, and there are calls to increase the limit.
  8. MAC reviews: The Migration Advisory Committee or MAC is asked to conduct two major reviews; these are the Salary Threshold review for the Tier 2 visa (to consider the £30,000 threshold among other things) and the Australian Point-Based System. The reports are expected next year.
  9. The Immigration White Paper: Theresa May’s Immigration White Paper was published in December 2018, but since then there have been significant announcements. As such, we expect a revised White Paper in 2020.
  10. Other changes:
    1. The Innovator and Start-up Visas were introduced in March this year, which signalled a move away from the Point-Based System. However, it appears that the new Government’s strategy is to revert to an ‘Australian Point-Based System’
    2. E-gates: E-gates were expanded to nationals of 7 more countries, and now are a regular feature of major airports across the UK.
    3. ETA: The Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme requires legislation which is currently under development. The ETA will be similar to the ESTA and all non-visa national visitors are expected to apply
Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

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+44 118 960 4605

The end of freedom of movement has inevitably created a shortage of low-skilled workers.


The briefing paper provides a round-up to the numerous announcements throughout much of 2019 and what to expect in 2020. However, the situation in respect of Brexit will determine how many of the announced policies will be implemented.

We also expect an election before the end of 2019, and a change of government would in itself result in a significantly different immigration policy.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

About this article

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