Post-Brexit worker shortage?

London --
Companies in Britain are warning that a new immigration system that prioritizes skilled workers could lead to labor shortages in industries including farming and social care.

The UK government on Wednesday unveiled a system under which potential immigrants to the country will be assigned points based on their specific skills and qualifications, potential salary and profession. Applicants with enough points will be granted a work visa.

Set to take effect in January 2021, the system is designed to reduce the number of unskilled workers coming to Britain and end what the government describes as the country's "reliance on cheap, low-skilled labor." Points will be awarded for proficiency in English, and all applicants will be required to have a job offer.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement that the system would allow Britain to attract the "the brightest and the best" from around the world. Companies that came to rely on EU workers during the decades that the United Kingdom was a member of the bloc were less enthusiastic.

Christina McAnea, assistant general secretary of public sector union UNISON, said there are not enough workers in the country to meet demands for social care, even under the current immigration system. The elderly and vulnerable could be left without support, she said.

"These plans spell absolute disaster for the care sector," said McAnea.

(c) CNN 02/19/2020

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