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Hannah Gannagé-Stewart

Deputy Editor, Solicitors Journal

Law Society cautious over scale of immigration changes

Law Society cautious over scale of immigration changes


The Law Society has responded to the government’s new points-based immigration system, warning that it is the most significant change to the system in decades.

The professional body pointed out that a vast number of organisations will have to engage with the immigration system to recruit international talent.

The new system will award points for specific skills, professions, salaries or qualifications and attributes, with visas being awarded to those with a minimum of 70 points. Low skilled workers are therefore unlikely to be awarded visas, despite businesses currently relying on their labour.

The government has said that EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally, giving priority to those with the highest skills, including scientists, innovators and academics. There will be a fast-track route for leading scientists, researchers and mathematicians to come to the UK.

The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600, down from the previously proposed £30,000. The new system will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

Society of England and Wales deputy vice president Stephanie Boyce said: “The Law Society has consistently called on the government to ensure there is sufficient time to properly transition to the new system and businesses are supported appropriately.

“Any future immigration system must operate fairly and consistently for applicants of all nationalities and apply proportionately to businesses of all sizes across the UK.”

Announcing the move on 18 February, home secretary Priti Patel said: “Today is a historic moment for the whole country.

“We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down.

“We will attract the brightest and the best from around the globe, boosting the economy and our communities, and unleash this country’s full potential.”