• International Workplace
  • 19 February 2020

No entry for migrants unless they earn enough ‘points’

EU migrants will need to earn at least £23,000 before they can enter the UK for work, as well as speak English, under plans agreed by the new Cabinet for a points-based immigration system. The system is aimed at reducing the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain and will start in January 2021.

Under the scheme, migrants will still be able to enter Britain if they earn under £23,000 but they will need a significant number of points in other areas to make up for a lower salary. It could mean points for skills, salaries or professions – with visas given to those gaining a certain score.

There will also be salary thresholds for higher earners to make sure they don't undercut the wages of those already working in Britain.

It is understood the PM wants only skilled migrants entering Britain – despite concerns some sectors could be left short. Despite warnings, Britain could face a shortage of social care workers if care homes are unable to recruit from overseas.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the shortfall could be made up from the eight million people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 64 who are “economically inactive”, who could be given the skills to do jobs in the sectors where the new points-based system will create a shortfall of labour.

The Government’s ten-page briefing document, outlining the new immigration policy, states:

  • UK borders will be closed to non-skilled workers – and all migrants will have to speak English.
  • Anyone wanting to come to the UK to work must have a job offer with a salary threshold of £25,600 – though a salary “floor” of £20,480 will be acceptable in special cases where there might have a skills shortage skills, such as in nursing.
  • There will be no route for self-employed people coming into the UK.
  • Border control will no longer accept ID cards from countries such as France and Italy, in an attempt to clamp down on non-EU workers beating the system with forged or stolen ID cards.
  • The skills threshold for foreign nationals wanting to work in the UK will be lowered from degree level to A-levels or their equivalent.
  • The cap on the numbers of skilled workers is being scrapped – and a small number of highly skilled workers will be allowed to come in without a job.


Migrants will need 70 points to apply to work in the UK, comprised of the following:

  • Offer of job by approved sponsor (essential) – 20 points
  • Job at appropriate skill level (essential) – 20 points
  • Speaks English at required level (essential) – 10 points
  • Salary of £20,480 (min) - £23,039 – zero points
  • Salary of £23,040 - £25,599 – 10 points
  • Salary of £25,600 or above – 20 points
  • Job in a designated shortage occupation – 20 points
  • Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to job – 10 points
  • Education qualification: PhD in a Stem subject relevant to the job – 20 points


Tom Hadley, director of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said:

“Jobs the government considers ‘low-skilled’ are vital to wellbeing and business growth. The announcement threatens to shut out the people we need to provide services the public rely on.

“We need access to workers that can help us look after the elderly, build homes and keep the economy strong.”


UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said “ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time would be disastrous for the hospitality sector and the British people” and deter investment in the high street.