by Darren Gibson
Low-skilled workers would be unable to acquire visas to enter and work in the UK post-Brexit, controversial government plans have revealed.
EU and non-EU citizens would be treated equally after December 31, 2020 when EU free movement ends, urging employers to invest in automation and retain staff for further training instead.
The proposals, which draw similarities to Australia and Canada’s points-based system, would mean potential workers would have to reach 70 “points” to be able to work in the country. These points can be accumulated by gaining a job offer at an appropriate skill level, speaking a good level of English and by holding a relevant PhD in a STEM related field. The salary threshold has also been set to £25,600.
Unskilled labour, like bartending, waiting tables, manual work and low-skilled agricultural work are said to take a hit due to the new laws.
The move has been criticised by politicians and workers alike across Scotland, with some taking to social media to vent their frustrations at the plans, which would mean foreign workers would have to meet the high standards of the new points-based system.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter to brand the immigration policy as “offensive in principle”:
And there were EU residents living in Scotland claiming that under the new proposals they would never have been able to come to the UK in the first place.
Christian Allard, former SNP member of the European parliament representing Scotland posted:
There are also those claiming the new salary limit is far too high:
And Scotland’s food and farming sector is set to take a hit as well, with not enough options for seasonal and non-permanent works to contribute to the sector post new legislation.
UWS News reached out to the National Farmers Union, Scotland for comment on how this would affect them as well as Scotland’s important farming sector.
Andrew McCornick, president of NFU Scotland, said: “NFU Scotland has always maintained that a UK-wide approach to immigration would be preferable. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK Government has disregarded the strong and consistent evidence of NFU Scotland and other businesses in the UK food and drink supply chain about the type of immigration system we need to ensure productivity and output.
“The proposals published will not provide sufficient options for non-UK workers to come and work in rural Scotland. As such, Scotland-specific work permits in a UK system should be considered as a means to offer businesses in Scotland flexible tools to attract and retain manual skilled individuals within our labour market where automation and recruitment of domestic workers are not available nor viable options.”
Proposals for a new “Scottish Visa” were recently unveiled by the Scottish Government to address depopulation and cut skills gaps, however the plans were immediately rejected by the UK Government who called immigration a “reserved matter”.