The committee essentially proposes that all applicants should be processed un- der the current system for migrants from outside the eu , with a few tweaks, includ- ing allowing them to take up jobs that re- quire the equivalent of a -level qualifica- tions, not only degrees. Most potential migrants would need a job o ff er with a prospective salary above the bottom quar- tile of the range for that role and above a threshold for all eligible jobs, which would fall by 15% to £25,600 ($33,300), to reflect the broader range of eligible jobs. There would be some exceptions to the thresh- old, such as health-care workers. A points system could be used to rank applicants without a job for a separate visa for “excep- tionally talented” people, which currently admits several hundred migrants a year. The committee acknowledges that tighter restrictions on European immi- grants would dent economic growth and employment levels. Firms starved of cheap labour would have to generate more from existing resources, though the committee expects only slight increases in productivi- ty. But the lower salary threshold would at least make it easier to recruit non-Euro- pean workers, says Ian Robinson of Frago- men, a law firm. “It will mean less contort- ing what a person is paid to fit the system.” The government can choose to ignore the report. Within hours of its publication, it rea ﬃ rmed its commitment to introduce a points-based system. But there is not much time for big changes. A complex new system would mean retraining Home Of- fice sta ff and tweaking it systems by the time the transition period—during which Britain and the eu apply the same rules— ends in December. The government is more likely to accept most of the commit- tee’s recommendations but nevertheless call it a points-based system. As Alan Man- ning, the committee’s chair, writes, such branding “is, forgive the pun, pointless”. 7 Britain’s new immigration system will probably look quite like the old one Immigration after Brexit Points of departure
The Economist February 1st 2020 Britain 25 C ommuters in the north of England have had a miserable year. In the year to October 2019 just over half Northern Rail’s trains arrived on time and passenger satis- faction was, understandably, lower than with any other operator. On January 29th the government lost patience with the firm and announced that Arriva Rail North, the franchise’s operator, would be stripped of its franchise on March 1st, five years ahead of schedule. Under the “operator of last re- sort procedure”, the service will then be run by a publicly owned company on an arm’s length basis for an unspecified length of time. The East Coast Mainline was taken over in a similar way in 2018 and remains in public hands. Northern is unlikely to be the last firm that finds itself targeted by the transport secretary.
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