What if the UK mirroring the Australia Point Based System?

Brexit: What if the UK mirroring the Australia Point Based System?

Discretion: This is an opinion article and should not be used as an immigration advice or immigration guide.

EU immigration, Brexit, UK immigration
Image Source: The Telegraph

****Update: As Theresa May is now the UK Prime Minister, I would say that this article is still relevant as a comparative analysis of the UK and the Australia Point Based System****


Well, today, as of 1st July at noon, I was stunned as I listened to the breaking news (radio-typed) of Mr Gove (the UK Prime Minister candidate)’s strategy to mirror the Australia Point Based System if he succeed the Prime Minister bid.

And so, while eating my Thai Green Curry from the Leather lane market, I try to grasp the moment of that breaking news and think: Australia Point Based System? How does it work? Is it similar to the UK Immigration Tier System that the UK Government has at the moment? I am sure this is going to be one of the most ‘google-searched’ words today.

Let me first start with the UK Tier system. The UK Government has made it harder for non-EU migrants to come to work in the UK. As when this article is written, there are Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 5 visas which allow you to work in the UK. But they come with heavy requirements:

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur): You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds. Read here. There you go. For this visa, you can’t just come here straight to work. You have to be rich first, frankly.

Tier 2 (General): The job you’re offered must pay at least £20,800/year or more. Read here. So how if I just happen to work at admin job, hospitality, cleaning, or at the low paid level of occupation? I have just no chance?

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker): This is basically only for temporary specified work such as charity, sports, or religious work. Read here. Temporary, that’s it. You can’t work for a long term.

There is also Tier 4 (General) visa for study purpose. However on this Tier 4 (General) visa, you can only work 20 hours/week in term-time and you have to study at a public-funded Higher Education Institution at a level 6 qualification or above. Read here on page 64.

So you can see how tough it is already for non-EU workers to apply to work in the UK. Would it be possible for the UK to apply this rules too for the EU workers?

Well so how about the Australia Point Based system? How similar is it compare to the current UK Tier System?

As for looking at the Australian Government website (read here), there seems an exhaustive list of type of visa available. But if I just look at the ‘working and skilled visas’ category, I can see that it is quite similar to the UK Tier System. Generally, it can be classified as Tier 1,2,4,5 as the UK Tier System. I will choose and discuss which type of the Australia worker visas which I think relevant for this article.

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189): This is a permanent residence visa, so you can work permanently in Australia. However, you have to score at least 60 points against the point test factor. Read here. Bear in mind that this is for skilled employment only. See the SOL (Skilled Occupation List) here. Similar question as in the UK Tier 2 system: how if I happen to work in the low paid/less skilled occupation?
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190): You have to be nominated by the Australian government or government agency. Read here. I think this visa is not for the ordinary occupation as it has to be nominated by the government.
  • Skilled Recognition Graduate visa (subclass 476): Only for Engineering graduates. And it is a temporary visa. Read here.
  • Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485): Good to know that Australia has the Post Study Work visa which can grant for up to four years depending on applicant’s qualification.  Read here.
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457): This is a little bit similar to the Tier 2 (General) visa where an approved business can sponsor an employee for up to four years. Again this is for a skilled occupation and therefore it may not accept the low paid/less skilled occupation.
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186): This is a permanent residence visa. An approved employer can nominate a worker under the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List). Interestingly the CSOL list includes sales, antique dealer, residential care worker, in which I think the CSOL list has broader range of occupation than the SOL list.

Based on the comparison above, I can say that the current UK Tier System is quite similar with the Australia Point Based System. I would also added that the UK current Tier 2 (General) visa is tougher than similar work visa in the Australia Point Based System. As at the current implementation, the Tier 2 (General) visa has a minimum salary threshold for entry and for settlement too.

Looking at the Australia work visas, I would say that the closest type of visa that the UK can adapt to employ EU workers is the ‘Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)’. I would also say that the UK may create similar list to the CSOL.

The question is, how would the visa be different for the non-EU workers? Can the same visa applies for both EU and non-EU workers?

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