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UK to offer work permits to non-graduate Kenyans

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Highly skilled Kenyans without degree-level qualifications will from next year be allowed to apply for work permits in Britain under post-Brexit immigration rules, enabling them to compete with job-seekers from the European Union and other regions.

Britain’s new points-based immigration system, set to be implemented from January 2021, has lowered the requirement for job applicants to the minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent from degree-level under the 27-member EU bloc system.

Britain’s Home Office says the new system will “provide greater flexibility and ensure UK business has access to a wide pool of skilled workers”.

The relaxed visa rules will enable Kenyan professionals in fields such as IT, accountancy, plumbing and electrical works to compete with other migrants.

Britain projects a huge climb in job vacancies after the new post-Brexit immigration system ended free movement of labour between it and the EU following the departure from the bloc earlier this year.

“An applicant’s job must be at the minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent, rather than degree level under the current system,” said the British home office.

There is no planned formal route for lower-skilled workers to enter Britain, although seasonal and sector-specific schemes may be created.

Britain has lowered the minimum general salary threshold for skilled migrants by 26.67 percent to £22,000 (Sh2.97 million) per year, or £1,833 (Sh247, 628) a month, from £30,000 per year currently.

This follows a January 2020 proposal by Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent entity that advises the British government, which had recommended £25,600 (Sh3.46 million) minimum annual pay for migrant skilled labourers.

“Under the new system, those wishing to live and work in the UK must gain 70 points – and points are awarded for criteria such as having a job offer, holding a Ph.D. relevant to the job, speaking English and earning more than £22,000 per year,” says an advisory by Britain’s Home Office.

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