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New UK immigration system could harm Covid-19 recovery, says UCU

13 July 2020

The new UK immigration system would create more barriers for the very migrant workers the country needs to help our recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, said the UCU.

The union was responding to the unveiling of the government's new points-based immigration system.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Instead of simplifying our immigration system and reducing the barriers faced by migrant workers, these proposals show that the hostile environment is alive and well in the UK. They do nothing to reduce the exorbitant visa and healthcare costs currently faced by migrant workers, and miss an opportunity to rethink restrictive minimum salary thresholds, which are a particular obstacle to attracting many of the professional services staff our universities and colleges rely upon. 

'The crude, metrics-based approach being set out shows that this government clearly values earnings over ethics. The system would prioritise those in higher paid jobs with better education over workers who earn less, while many of those we have clapped and celebrated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic would be deemed "unskilled" and kept out of the country.

'Migrant staff and students make a hugely valuable contribution to our education system, as well as the wider economy and society. The government's priority should be to encourage those who wish to work or study at UK colleges and universities to do so, especially as these institutions will be central to our economic recovery.'

Last updated: 15 July 2020