Point-Based Visa: The New World Order

Amidst the hullabaloo of Brexit, UK Prime Minister has brought forward the topic of awarding point-based Visas to people wishing to work in the UK, similar to the existing Australian system.

What is a point-based Visa policy?

Generally, when Visas are awarded based on a point system, there are many categories under which an immigrant may acquire points. This ranges from proficiency in the local language, whether they are of workable age, to their total skill and work experience. There are also points awarded to applicants who have a special skill which is in short supply in the country. This is a skill-based migration program. Jobs can be as generic as a repairman to specific as an aeronautical engineer.

How long is such a Visa valid?

It differs from country to country. For example, in the case of Australia, such immigrants can live and work in Australia indefinitely. They are also entitled to benefits such as studying in its premiere institutes, sponsor relatives to be permanent residents and access the Australian healthcare system.

What are the advantages of such a system?

Usually, when someone enters a country with a work visa, they are tied to their employers. Without their job, their Visa becomes void. As a result, they are at the mercy of their employers. In the case of point-based Visas, the workers are free to migrate between companies and do not need the employers to sponsor their residence. This allows them to breathe and saves them from any form of exploitation.

What are the criticisms against such a policy?

A major criticism of this policy is that it depends on the government’s perception of whether an applicant is employable. Since a job offer is not mandatory to apply and receive such a Visa, it is difficult to judge how valuable the applicant’s skills are. Eligibility is also subjective. If a higher number of people apply for a Visa at the same time, even skilled people may lose out. Whereas, when fewer apply, a less skilled person may receive their Visa.

Is point-based Visa a sign of active meritocracy?

Although, it may appear to be so, the point-based system has less to do with merit than with demand. Skills that are higher in demand at any moment will always be given preference. At the end of the day, it remains a simple case of supply-demand economics.


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