Our message to the world: Britain is open for business

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, writes for City AM outlining the benefits of the new points-based immigration system for businesses.

Three weeks ago we delivered on our promise when the UK became a sovereign nation for the first time in 50 years. Today we are setting out the biggest shake-up of the UK’s immigration system for a generation.

For the first time businesses will be able to recruit the most talented people from around the world using a single streamlined points-based immigration system.

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution British business has been global. It is only right that the UK’s immigration system reflects the international diversity of our economic ties across the globe.

Our new fairer system will boost innovation and grant businesses access to the best and brightest from around the world. It will prioritise the skills people have and how they will contribute to the UK’s economy, not where they come from. And it will help restore public trust in our immigration system.

Additional points will be awarded to people who have the most to offer, including those working in occupations where there are real skills shortages.

With 4 of the top 10 universities in the world, the UK is a powerhouse of academia and already attracts half a million international students. Our new system will enable those studying here to more easily continue to work and contribute after they have graduated.

In addition to this, our Global Talent visa will provide a fast track route for the world’s best and brightest scientists and researchers to take advantage of the billions this government is investing to turn the UK into a science superpower.

And in line with our clear commitment, there will be no specific route for low skilled workers.

Although I have only been Business Secretary for less than a week, this government has collectively spoken with businesses of all sizes, drawing on their expertise to help design the new system. I will continue to do so as it is rolled out.

I am certain businesses share our vision to transform and level up every region of the UK by adapting and investing in domestic skills and technology.

This is vital if we are to deliver a high-skill, high-wage and highly productive economy that benefits all, and ensures the UK remains one of the best place in the world to work, start and grow a business.

In order to support businesses, we will be introducing world leading technology, streamlining visa processes and scrapping the requirement to advertise here before employing a migrant. This will cut the time it takes to bring a worker into the UK by up to 8 weeks.

Our new, fair system will send a message to the whole world that Britain is open for business.