Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed the Government’s proposals concerning new immigration policies set to come into force ahead of Brexit.
In brief, the Government proposals are:
- To change to current Life in the UK Test for those applying to settle and naturalise as a British citizen in the UK;
- To strengthen the English language Requirement;
- To increase protection for victims of forced marriage;
- To introduce a single immigration system which will give highly skilled workers priority to work and live in the UK;
- To scrap the cap on the number of highly skilled migrants as part of the post-Brexit plan (the limit is currently 20,000); and
- To enforce the requirement that highly skilled migrant applicants must meet the minimum salary threshold which current stands as £30,000 (there are hints that this may be reviewed).
Whilst criticising the current Life in the UK Test, calling it a “pub quiz”, the Home Secretary added: “Citizenship should mean more than being able to win a pub quiz. We need to make it a British values test – and that’s exactly what I will bring in.” Mr Javid also confirmed that he would strengthen the English language requirements for all new citizens. In his interview with The Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, he pointed out that over 700,000 people currently residing in the UK do not speak English, having previously acknowledged that his own mother did not learn English until a decade after she moved to the UK. He stated: “I’m determined to break down barriers to integration wherever I find them. Take, for example, the most basic barrier of all: language.”
Speaking with Viner, the Home Secretary said he was not concerned by the thought that under such a regime his father, who arrived from Pakistan in 1961 with £1 and no skills, would be barred from entry. When his father came, Mr Javid said, the entry system was very different as the governments of the time “wanted, needed, a route for low-skilled migration”.
Mr Javid also said that he would offer greater support to those who have been a victim of forced marriage and to revoke visas of their spouses if they were forced into marriage. When these proposals come into force, victims of forced marriage will be able to block their abusers from entering Britain. This comes two months after a Times investigation exposed practices wherein Home Office officials, who knew a case concerned a forced marriage, were turning a blind eye and issuing visas to known abusers.