UK’s New Points System and the Value of Commonwealth Status

UK’s New Points System and the Value of Commonwealth Status

Recently, the British government released a detailed policy description of its new points-based immigration system. The Home Office said that the new system is going to take effect on January 1, 2021, after the end of the Brexit transition period. The new system will aim to limit the number of low-skilled labour immigrants.

The government implemented system will be similar to the point accumulation policy used in Australia. The system holds requirements relevant to the applicant’s level of job, salary and education. A total of 70 points for nine conditions will allow for stay in the UK.

In the compulsory requirements, overseas workers must speak English (10 points), have a certain level of vocational skills (20 points) and obtain a job offer from a guarantor (20 points). This means that the UK will be closing its doors to unskilled workers and low-skilled immigrants who do not speak English.

At the salary level, the annual income for an applicant must be between £20,480 – £23,039 (0 points), £23,040 – £25,599 (10 points) or £25,600 or more (20 points). It is worth noting that the salary threshold was reduced from the original £30,000 pounds to £25,600.

As for education, those with a high degree of education or the best in the field can get higher scores. Doctoral degrees related to employment positions achieve 10 points and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can gain 20 points.

Effect on EU Citizens

The new policy also stipulates that EU citizens, who were free to enter and leave in the past, can only stay in the UK for no more than 6 months if they visit the UK as tourists after 2021. After the transition period, they will also be processed through the points system.

Commonwealth Status and Appreciation

As a post-Brexit UK aims to distance itself from the EU, the opportunity to increase exchanges and cooperation between Commonwealth countries may rise. According to Dr Mohammad Razzaque, the Head of International Trade Policy at the Commonwealth Secretariat from 2012-2017, Commonwealth countries can do much more to expand trade links with the UK, post-Brexit.

“We already know there’s a Commonwealth advantage in trading between member states”, he said. “Where the UK is already a significant trading partner, Commonwealth members can mobilise pro-active policy support to relatively easily expand trade further.”

Therefore, having the status of a Commonwealth Caribbean islands like Grenada, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda or St Lucia can prove to expand opportunities in sectors of trade and education in the UK. This status can be achieved through these countries’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes.

Unlike the new immigration system of the UK, many Caribbean Commonwealth countries do not require applicants to adhere to terms of language, job sponsorship or education. Their citizenship application is simple, and approval is thorough yet fast.

Educational advantages

Government investment or pre-approved property purchase on the above-mentioned Caribbean islands through CBI can garner second citizenship for your family, including your spouse, and most importantly, your children.

In terms of a child’s education, being a Commonwealth citizen has many advantages, whether its studying abroad or in a prominent school in the country.

As part of the Commonwealth, a student’s A-level certificate is recognized by all Commonwealth countries making it easier to apply to the UK for post-secondary education. With a Commonwealth citizenship, one can visit universities in the UK as a tourist and make the decision of which school suits them best. Parents are also able to visit or accompany their child to the UK to help them settle in.

Legal Advantages

Today, many Commonwealth countries still provide special treatment to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth citizens living in the UK enjoy many civil rights and treatments like the Right of Abode and the ability to vote. Furthermore, based on the principle of equal status among member states, Commonwealth member states can discuss and cooperate in trade, finance, defence, technology and other fields in accordance with the principle of Imperial Preference.

Business Advantages

For businesspeople who need to travel frequently, visa restrictions can mean a loss of business opportunities, but it can also increase the time and management costs of business trips abroad. A Commonwealth citizenship from the Caribbean can provide visa-free access to a plethora of countries and regions around the world, including mainstream business hubs in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This can make business expansion easier and grow investment potential.

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