The United Kingdom has released the latest figures on the number of foreign nationals currently living in the country.
The data is based on their annual population survey, with these being the figures for the year ending June 2020.
With travel restriction in most of 2020 owing to the global pandemic, we can assume not much has changed between now and then.
According to the survey, India consitutes the UK’s largest foreign population. 847 000 of them live there.
Poland comes second (746,000); Pakistan third (519,000); Romania fourth (370,000) with the Republic of Ireland (364,000) completing the top 5.
The only two African countries to appear in the top 10 are South Africa at number 9 with 229,000 immigrants and Nigeria at number 10 with 219,000.
|1||India||847 000||419 000||428 000|
|2||Poland||746 000||333 000||412 000|
|3||Pakistan||519 000||265 000||254 000|
|4||Romania||370 000||202 000||168 000|
|5||Republic of Ireland||364 000||168 000||196 000|
|6||Germany||310 000||135 000||175 000|
|7||Bangladesh||251 000||128 000||123 000|
|8||Italy||240 000||129 000||112 000|
|9||South Africa||229 000||110 000||118 000|
|10||Nigeria||219 000||108 000||111 000|
Despite the slow down in 2020, 2021 and beyond is looking up for South Africans. Immigration changes introduced at the start of the year will give South Africans hoping to move to the UK a better chance.
It is a points-based immigration system, where applicants will need at least 70 points to be eligible for a visa, according to Sable International.
What is the UK Point based Immigration System?
This is a way of selecting labour migrants based on certain characteristics such as educational qualifications, language proficiency, work experience and occupation.
This system will emphasize and give visas to immigrants for economic purposes, rather than for joining families, refugees, international students etc.
This system was inspired by Australia’s own point system.
Is the UK point system good for South Africa?
Most experts agree that South Africa will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this new point-based system.
South Africa is not a war-torn country spunning out refugees. In fact, it is a country with a huge population of qualified young people, many of them in science and engineering.
As the UK reduces their quota of refugees and low skilled workers mostly from Eastern Europe, South Africa’s highly skilled workers are expected to benefit.
Another big advantage is the fact that we speak English, which is one of the necessary points.
Qualified South Africans have a much better chance of success now, as opposed to the previous system.
How are the UK immigration points awarded.
Points or score are awarded for different characteristics. Some of these may be lifted on a case by case basis.
For example, some individuals, based on their skillsets or qualifications, may be eligble for a visa even without a UK job offer.
But generally, this is how the points will be awarded.
|Job offer from approved sponsor||No||20|
|Job at appropriate skill level||No||20|
|Speaks English at required level||No||10|
|Salary of £20,480 – £23,039 (R424,055 – R476,900)||Yes||0|
|Salary of £23,040 – £25,599 (R476,900 – R530,070)||Yes||10|
|Salary of £25,600 or above||Yes||20|
|Job in a shortage occupation||Yes||20|
|Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job||Yes||10|
|Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job||Yes||20|
The UK is already the top destination for South African immigrants, and should the new visa system work as advertised, it should hold that position.