On 12th June, 2020, #Jazz FM invited Mr Yash Dubal, Director at A Y & J Solicitors to discuss the Points Based Immigration System. Here’s how the discussion goes down:
How do you see the current situation around immigration playing out?
With many industries like care and hospitality so reliant on international workers, will there be manpower shortages?
In my view, yes. The ongoing situation around international travel and the coronavirus will certainly
mean lesser people coming to the UK in the short to medium term. However, the situation is hard to
predict, particularly in hospitality because that sector will be one of the hardest hit by the pandemic
and sadly there will be significant job losses which may mitigate the potential shortages.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel. Under the new immigration system, the skills
level for some foreign workers has been reduced. So for example, shopkeepers from abroad will now
qualify for a visa. I speak with clients in the care industry and they welcome the news that this
change now means they can employ foreign nursing assistants and trainee physiotherapist from next
The new Visa points system comes into play post-Brexit, are businesses ready?
In my view, definitely not. I think there is going to be real guesswork for British workplaces that
rely on migrant workers next year because there are so many uncertainties.
The coronavirus has disrupted international travel. There is growing caution about dealing with
Chinese businesses and investors. No one currently knows if a Brexit deal will even happen or indeed
if the new immigration bill will be enacted. Interestingly, before the coronavirus hit, ONS figures
showed that immigration from non-EU countries was on the rise. I predict that pattern to continue
once these issues have settled down but most businesses are unprepared.
The messaging behind the new immigration policy – and to a degree behind Brexit – is that the UK is
freeing itself to become a truly global business hub. However, in order for British businesses to
employ people from abroad they need to be approved by the Home Office. Only around 31,000
businesses are currently registered to sponsor workers outside the UK. That’s compared to approx.
1.4m businesses employing people in the UK. So, while not all businesses need to hire a worker from
overseas, those that might benefit from doing so really need to start registering with the Home
What can we expect following the Government’s announcement about changes in policy for
Hong Kong citizens who hold BNO passports? Will we see an influx of workers from Hong Kong?
Last week, the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced that Hong Kong BNO passport holders
will be allowed to apply to work and study in the UK for 12 months or more, which will then provide
a pathway to future citizenship. Currently, that applies to 300,000 people and they can visit the UK
visa-free for six months. A further 2.9 million people are eligible.
The policy isn’t about bringing workers to the UK, it’s about making a stand against China’s civil
rights encroachment in the former colony. It is a political move to show that the Government is
standing by the population of the former British colony.
The reality on the ground is that Hong Kongers are vibrant, dynamic and entrepreneurial and are
highly unlikely to give up the benefits of living somewhere like Hong Kong, which has a fantastic
standard of living, to flood the UK. If they do, the UK economy will most likely benefit.
But those that do leave if the situation becomes intolerable will likely head to other wealthy Asian
nations like Singapore, South Korea or Japan. Hong Kongers already have an opportunity to live and
work in the UK under the current visa system anyway.