Why Boris's Australian points plan will change immigration lawyer target markets
By Charlie Britten
04 Aug 2019
Few doubted that Boris Johnson would win the race to secure the Conservative Party leadership and thus replace Theresa May as prime minister. Central to his appeal was his pledge to ensure there would be no more delays in delivering Brexit, and while he was unable to ensured Britain left the EU on October 31st 2019, "no ifs or buts”, he was able to push Brexit through after calling a general election last December and securing a majority of 80.
Immigration lawyers will be watching closely to see just what does transpire now the UK is out of the EU and can devise its own policy in this area. The decisions made in Westminster may have far-reaching implications, not least in determining the kinds of target markets that are likely to be the largest.
What issues may there be for EU citizens?
It would appear unlikely that there will be many problems for citizens of the remaining 27 EU states who already live and work in the UK.
- They should be able to go on doing so, because only a favourable policy towards them would elicit reciprocal generosity from the EU.
- Indeed, while a new post-Brexit agreement will need to be worked out, the mutual benefits of a quid pro quo should minimise the problems that might be faced by existing ex-pats.
- However, future immigration is another matter. While those who voted to leave the EU did so for a range of reasons, immigration was certainly one of them and it is not an issue Mr Johnson or any other politician can easily ignore.
Why will the buyer persona of the average immigration law client change?
The new prime minister’s preferred policy - mentioned in the Queen's Speech - is an Australian-style points system.
- This would not just mean that while no preference is given to anyone from the EU; the rationale is it would be used to base immigration policy on the skills each prospective entrant could offer.
- The more desirable the skills, the more points an applicant will have and therefore the greater chance of being allowed in.
- While the overall level of immigration may be lower - though not necessarily tied to specific targets as favoured by Mrs May - this may appear to be a fair and meritocratic system.
However, if it is designed to reduce immigration, that will be in contrast with the way it has been used to increase immigration in Australia, now an increasingly multi-ethnic nation. Such a policy is bound to be controversial, with its critics including Mr Johnson’s successor as London mayor Sadiq Khan.
This difference may be significant, as it would mean higher points thresholds in the UK case. Depending how the legislation is drawn up and implemented, there may be plenty of room for disputes and appeals. If so, immigration lawyers may be particularly busy.
Which nations provide the most immigrants may depend on a range of circumstances, as past history has shown:
- The accession of eastern European countries to the EU produced significant 21st century migration
- Britain’s economic needs after World War 2 brought the Windrush generation from the old empire.
- In future, the distribution of nationalities may be more diverse. It will be important for those concerned with the law to be aware of this.
Mr Johnson has said immigrants should be able to speak English, which may give a bias towards countries like Australia or the US. A potential issue may be just what standard of English is required.
Australia’s immigration policies are not just about points. Allied to it are issues concerning refugees, with opinions deeply divided over the contentious policy of detaining asylum seekers on Christmas Island.
Ultimately, the capacity of the UK government to formulate its own immigration policy now it no longer has EU laws to comply with creates great potential for change - and therefore controversy. When new legislation does come before parliament, it will be important for the legal sector to begin its preparations for the new circumstances and client base they may have to deal with.
How can BeUniqueness help you
If you have an immigration law firm, BeUniqueness can help you devise a new digital marketing strategy that will help you to target the updated buyer persona of your new market. This will enable you to adjust quickly to changing circumstances and get ahead of competitors who fail to change their marketing strategy.