Women will be hit the hardest by Britain’s immigration system
The Women’s Budget Group, an independent gender equality NGO, has maintained that Britain’s proposed new points-based system would hit women the hardest as they tend to group into lower-paid jobs.
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The new immigration system will come into effect on 1 January 2021, after the set transition period which will end at the end of this year. The new system is premised on migrants achieving points for the higher their qualifications, skill set and pay. To be able to live and work in the UK, migrants will need to achieve at least 70 points; 20 points may come from having a job offer; a further 20 points can be gained if you said the job is at a skilled level; a further 20 points can be gained if the applicant has a PhD, and an additional 10 points is automatically granted to those who can speak English at a sufficient level.
The Young Women’s Trust, a British feminist organisation, has also accused the new immigration system of sexism noting that it fails to account for the huge amount of unpaid work women do that positively contributes to the economy. Many women are forced to sacrifice well-paying work to care for family members including the elderly as well as young children and those with disabilities. The role this plays in perpetuating the economy cannot be underestimated. It is estimated that women are four times more like to sacrifice paid work to take on these responsibilities than men.
The proposed immigration plans will negatively impact industries which are reliant on female labour including, food production, hospitality, health and social care. In particular, there is concern over the social care industry in the UK which is undergoing a staffage shortage and is predominately reliant on women, 80% of the workforce is women.
Britain’s Women’s Equality Party notes that the average care worker only earns £17,000 but this is not reflective of the tremendous amount of hard work and skill it requires to undertake this job.
The Home Office has defended the new points-based system on a principle of meritocracy, stating that those who would contribute the most would be rewarded but it appears that they are failing to properly recognise the contribution women make to the British economy and society more broadly.
These statements follow concerns over growing austerity which has gained criticism from the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty which stipulated that austerity was making life for working-class women worse and was ideologically driven. From 2008- 2018, the distribution of food bank parcels increased 5,146 per cent.