What can be done?

The campaign to cut immigration and stop asylum abuse

1. Immigration for work

The aim should be for the largest share of long-term immigration to derive in future from highly skilled-work visas on much higher salary thresholds than at present.

This would improve revenue to the Exchequer as well as innovation, productivity and GDP per capita. It would also aid social cohesion.

As a former immigration minister noted in June 2021, holding a job “is an important part of… participation in life in the UK [and integration outcomes]”.

 Any reform of policy should ensure that highly-skilled overseas applicants can continue to fill genuine labour shortages. However, there must also be complementary action to build up the UK skills base so that the root causes of shortages are addressed.

Meanwhile, routes for workers going into lower-paid work that have no skills, salary tests or job offer requirements should be closed, including routes for seasonal workers and low-paid care workers.


Almost 2 in 3 of the public thinks that non-UK workers should be required to have a job offer becoming coming

We propose the following measures:

Restore the Resident Labour Market Test

This policy is backed by 87% of Conservative voters in Red Wall seats.

Restoring the Resident Labour Market Test that would ensure UK applicants are given first opportunity to apply for job openings before employers start to hire from overseas.

As the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has noted, labour market tests help to “protect the domestic workforce from being displaced or replaced” by overseas recruits (MAC report, 2015 p. 151).

Raise the skilled work visa salary threshold

Raising the salary threshold to between £30,000 and £40,000 per annum would ensure that those coming make a net contribution to the Exchequer and do not adversely affect wages in the UK.

As the MAC noted when considering the shape of the post-Brexit system, such a threshold is “likely to ensure that…migrants raise the level of productivity in the UK, make a clear positive contribution to the public finances and contribute to rising wages which is the appropriate market response to a labour shortage”.

Raise the work visa skills threshold

Raise the work visa skills threshold from the present A-level (RQF3+) to graduate level (RQF6+).

As the MAC has noted, the skill eligibility is “very important in practice”. Indeed, it is a key instrument by which the route can be refined to focus on highly-skilled recruits.

The Shortage Occupation List should be reviewed

The shortage occupation list should be reviewed and reduced every six months in order to help ensure that the immigration system helps build up the UK’s skills base. 

Instead of the endless expansion of overseas hiring, there should be a notable shift in national strategic focus towards training and skilling-up talented Britons.

Reduce the dependency on seasonal overseas workers

Seasonal work visas have risen 16-fold from 2,500 in 2019 to 40,000 in 2022.

From this year, it should be possible for growers to increasingly recruit domestically, including British, EU Settlement Scheme workers and Ukrainians looking for employment in the UK, and for this route to be reduced by perhaps 10,000 per year, and helped by more automation where possible.

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