“Freedom of movement is ending. A new points-based immigration system could support the economy and retain public confidence.
“Today’s announcement has positives on attracting international students and the highest skilled workers. But it will struggle to reflect genuine needs in communities until it really values an individual’s contribution beyond just salary and avoids a false choice between hiring from overseas or investing in the existing workforce. Both are needed to drive the economy forward.
“The system will launch in January in a very different labour market to what was expected earlier this year. This is a reminder that it must be flexible to be fit for the long-term. A regularly reviewed shortage occupations list, with promises of further flexibility will be vital for the effectiveness of the new system.
“It’s welcome that government has recognised that the sponsorship process needed to obtain a visa needs to be radically streamlined and simplified. Until these reforms are delivered many SMEs will conclude that it’s a system they can only use in theory, not in practice.”