Calls for UK to implement Australian-style immigration system

The man who could become the next Prime Minster of the UK has suggested he would like to see the country implement an Australian-style points-based immigration system.

Boris Johnson, one of the candidates to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister, revealed yesterday he is in favour of a merit-based system for immigration.

“What I would like to do is get the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to look really properly at the Australian-style points-based system,” he said.

The MAC is an independent body that advises the government.

The Australian immigration system, like that of Canada’s and New Zealand’s, awards visa applicants points on a range of factors including age, qualifications, work experience and English language ability. Those who score enough points through this system are then invited to apply for a permanent residence visa.

In defence of such a system, Johnson, who was an advocate of introducing a points test for immigration during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, argued: “We must be much more open to high-skilled immigration such as scientists, but we must also assure the public that, as we leave the EU, we have control over the number of unskilled immigrants coming into the country.”

The former foreign secretary said he would also protect the rights of the three million EU nationals living in the UK, even if Britain left without a deal. He added: “This should have happened straight after the referendum.

“I will sort it out immediately and make sure that this issue is properly dealt with and millions of people can stop worrying.”

However, some senior UK business figures have reacted negatively to Johnson’s proposals stating that a points-based system ‘would be a bureaucratic nightmare and won’t deliver the skills the economy needs to grow.’

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Oxford-based Migration Observatory, stated that the UK already uses a point-based system for non-EU immigration and that it’s hard to see how implementing this for all immigrants who be significantly different.

Either Johnson or Jeremy Hunt are set to become the new leader of the Tory Party, and by proxy Prime Minister, next month.

Article published 28th June 2019