Skilled workers will have to enter the UK on temporary visas post-Brexit under proposals in a new immigration white paper.
Home secretary Sajid Javid has announced proposals for immigration after the UK leaves the European Union next year whereby skilled workers will be required to apply for 12-month visas that will provide access to the labour market but no benefits.
Workers under these visas will not be able to bring family members with them or settle in the UK, and will have a 12-month “cooling off” period after expiry.
The white paper proposals place no limit on the number of international students entering the UK, and extend the time they can stay after they complete their studies. If accepted, those who have studied for a bachelor’s or master’s degree will be granted six months to find employment. Those who have completed a PhD will be given 12 months.
Javid said: “Today’s proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation. We are taking a skills-based approach to ensure we can attract the brightest and best migrants to the UK. These measures will boost our economy and benefit the British people.”
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Proposals for a temporary 12-month visa for those earning under £30,000 would embed unnecessary cost and churn into the recruitment process and undermine the work currently being done by retailers to attract and retain colleagues.
The UK has a unique opportunity to design an immigration system that has the support of the public and meets the need of businesses. Retail’s ongoing transformation will see fewer jobs overall, but more higher skilled roles in the future. Despite this, we will continue to rely on a proportion of lower-skilled workers to meet consumer demand. Therefore an accessible lower skilled route is critical to the future success of the industry and the people it serves.”