Boris Johnson pledges to reform UK immigration system

Boris will introduce an 'Australian style' points based system if he succeeds in his bid to become PM.

Tory frontrunner Boris Johnson has pledged to reform the UK's immigration system by introducing an 'Australian style' points based system if he succeeds in his bid to become the next Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson said the overhaul would 'restore democratic control of immigration policy' while also allowing ministers to be 'much tougher on those who abuse our hospitality'.

This follows a report from the 'Onward' centre-right think tank, which says that net migration to the UK is 1.4 million higher than it would have been if ministers had achieved their pledge to reduce it to under 100,000 a year. Onward said:

The next Prime Minister must replace it with a firm system that forces business and Whitehall to continue to confront the trade offs involved in immigration, and holds Government's feet to the fire for deliver on its pledges.

The report also called for the creation of a new Office for Migration Responsibility in a bid to 'keep ministers honest' about the impact of government forecasts and to provide independent assessments of migration trends.

Communities Secretary and former immigration minister James Brokenshire said it was right for the next government to 'look again' at the policy.

Immigration policy supports Britain's continued success story as a growing economy. Changes in skills needs or workforce shortages mean that we need to continue to attract people to come to the UK and be part of this positive vision. But there is a need for balance

But former immigration minister Mark Harper said the next leader should consider the group's proposals before deciding on any future migration strategy. He said:

'For too long the public have thought, and quite rightly too, that our politicians do not have their hands on the wheel when it comes to immigration policy.' 

'This has to change, and as we leave the EU we will regain the ability to shape a migration policy that can control immigration from wherever in the world it comes.'

How well does the Australian system work?

It depends who you ask. Some critics argue it is a blunt tool and that a strict points-based criteria can disregard other skills and qualities.

Points are given based on a range of factors, among them:

Age: this ranges from 25 points for those aged 18-24, to zero for over-50s.

English language skills: people receive 20 points for 'superior' skills, 10 for proficient and none for 'competent'.

Work experience: more time in a particular occupation brings more points, with experience in Australia counting more than that from overseas.

Qualifications: higher qualifications bring more points, up to 20 for a doctorate.

Relevant skills: applicants’ jobs need to be on the skilled occupation list, a lengthy collection of jobs with shortages, and there are various classes of visa for which such a job allows people to apply.



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