The UK’s Points Based System for Employment Migration: The Missing Social Dimension

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Abstract

This article argues that policy and law-making with respect to the points based system (PBS) of employment migration to the UK is missing the social dimension: a recognition of the importance of family life to migrants and the importance of family life to their decisions about whether and where to migrate for employment. The UK’s immigration rules restrict the ability of employment migrants who enter the UK through the PBS to secure entry for their family members, in line with general trends to restrict immigration flows. This article argues that the social dimension to migration policy is important for three core reasons. The first is that the UK’s restrictive rules on family migration negatively impacts the wellbeing of employment migrants and their families, and particular the best interests of their children. The second is that the neglect of the social dimension of migration policy is a further aspect of the indirect gender discrimination of the PBS. Third, the ability of employment migrants to secure the entry of family members may be a relevant factor in the quest for a globally competitive migration market. This article concludes that there is a need for greater research attention to the social dimension of employment migration and for a whole system approach to remedy the issues identified.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Jun 2022

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