The government's immigration bill, described as a potential ‘hammer blow' to the hospitality industry, is to return to the House of Commons today.
The bill looks to repeal EU freedom of movement and introduce the framework of a points-based system that will favour those workers judged to be ‘high-skilled'. The government had planned to introduce the policy from January 2021.
Prospective workers will need a job offer from a sponsored employer with a minimum salary of £25,600 – although there is a suggestion this could drop to £20,480 in industries with staff shortages if other conditions are met – as well as meeting a minimum English language standard.
Even if these requirements are met, potential employees will need to tot up 70 points in a system that prioritises high salaries and qualifications, with the Home Office estimating that 70% of the UK's current EU workforce would not meet the new requirements.
There have been hopes that opposition to the bill could increase, in the face of gratitude for the work of many frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis. Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We see the clap for carers on a Thursday evening. It is wrong to then say on a Monday that you are unskilled, and that people with those skills are not welcome in this country."
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will go before parliament for its second reading this afternoon.