From 2008, a Points Based System, similar to that operating in Australia, will begin to operate in the United Kingdom. The countdown to the transformation of the immigration system began on December 5th when the Home Secretary announced new rules for highly skilled foreign workers applying to come to the UK.
In a wide ranging speech at the London School of Economics, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced changes to the UK’s immigration regime to ensure the system is firm but fair and supports Britain’s shared values. The proposals published included: plans to ensure that migrants can integrate into communities through strengthened requirements for English language; plans to ensure all migrants play by the rules with strengthened restrictions on citizenship for those who break the law and protection for vulnerable people through measures to combat forced marriage.
Jacqui Smith said:
“Migration brings great social and economic benefits to this country. But people expect it to be managed robustly and in support of Britain’s national interests. That’s why we’re launching the countdown to our new Points Based System which will begin in less than 100 days.
“The Points Based System will build on a package of measures already being introduced to deliver a more secure border. These include: new electronic checks to count people in and out of the UK and clamp down on illegal immigration; fingerprinting of visa applicants around the world before they are allowed to enter Britain; and the introduction of ID cards for foreign nationals.
“I want people coming to live and work in the UK and their families to be able to integrate fully into our society. So as well as our existing and planned requirements for English language proficiency, attached to settlement, citizenship and for skilled workers, I am today publishing proposals for new requirements for spouses who plan to settle here to have some knowledge of English prior to arrival.
“I believe it is right that we protect those at risk and that is why I am proposing that the age at which a person can sponsor or be sponsored to come to the UK for marriage is raised from 18 to 21.
“For those foreign nationals already living and working in the UK, I also believe that it is right that they play by the rules. That is why I want to strengthen our ability to block the privilege of citizenship to those with a criminal record. After all British citizenship is a privilege, not a right.”
Click here to read the Executive Summary of Making Migration Work for Britain.