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Carmichael ‘disappointed’ by Government’s immigration policy

Alistair Carmichael MP

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has voiced disappointment at the lack of change in the government’s post-EU immigration policy in light of the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Carmicheal was reacting to the release of guidance for employers earlier this month which detailed how, as of January 1, 2021, free movement will end and the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system.

In the guidance put forward those wanting to move to the UK will be required to earn 70 points to be eligible to apply for a visa. Points will be awarded for such things as being able to speak English, having a job already lined up and meeting appropriate skill levels. They will also have to meet a minimum salary threshold, which the guidance informs is generally £25,600, although a lower salary might be accepted in some circumstances.

Under this new system, low-skilled workers will not be able to receive visas to live and work in the UK.

The new system however, will not apply to EU citizens already living in the UK by December 31, this year. They will be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Highlighting the impact immigrants have had in the fight against coronavirus, Mr Carmichael called on the government to rethink its plans and support key workers.

“When the immigration proposals were first announced earlier in the year I called them short-sighted and a risk to the long-term future of island communities,” he said.

“We are already seeing the potential harm we risk to our communities and our country. It is time that the government started rethinking its plans.

“Around the UK we are seeing the positive impact that immigrants are having as key workers in the fight against coronavirus. That the government has not reflected on this at all in developing its advice on immigration policy is disappointing. If immigrants can be essential workers in our country’s time of crisis, then they deserve our support to remain here afterwards.”

Mr Carmichael added: “Last week I joined my colleague Christine Jardine in calling for foreign nationals working in the NHS in this crisis to have the right to remain. There can be no clearer case for their rights than the work they are doing right now.”