Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Kidney Pie Test?

Monday's new rules affecting would-be immigrants to the United Kingdom has been met with both praise and anger: praise from the large sector of the population which believes that government has done little to mitigate illegal migration; anger from immigrant and other groups which say the new rules will make it more difficult for talented migrants to move to the U.K.

The Home Office has been under the gun for several years because of the heavy influx of African and Asian immigrants, and announced the new rules as part of the most significant changes to UK immigration regulations in the past half century. The new system assigns scores under various categories, and all inbound workers, students, or those migrating permanently to the UK must meet thresholds or be rejected admission. 

While similar point-based systems are utilized in many countries - arguably, the qualifying criteria for many U.S. employment based categories involves an unspecified defacto enumeration of "points" without which a person cannot qualify.  What is sufficient work experience in a given field to one USCIS adjudicator may not be enough for another, and in that discretion lies the potential for abuse.

While the popular response has been generally supportive, the UK is seeing its business community respond much as the U.S. business community has reacted in the past to everything from Sen. Alan Simpson's declared war on the H-1B visa he sought to eliminate to numerical limitations which have prompted companies such as Microsoft to move planned expansions across the border to Canada.  Because the UK has a number of pragmatic, lesser-skilled visa categories, it isn't just the IT, banking, and technology sectors complaining; the hospitality industry is outraged as well.  That would be because said industry in the U.K. does not, like its brethren sector in the U.S., operate under a tacit understanding that since suitable temporary visas don't exist for food service workers in the U.S., reliance on illegal workers here is as ubiquitous as it is strategically avoided.

The system both gives points to aliens whose contributions to the UK would be beneficial AND discounts points for negative things, such as "antisocial" behavior, suggesting that yours truly would at times be most unwelcomed by Her Majesty.  But my absolute favorite point-reducer:

"Displaying disregard for British values"

If that means passing the Kidney Pie Test, they might as well have slammed the door shut...(-;



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