News Daily: Immigration plans, Brit Awards and coronavirus

By Victoria King
BBC News


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'70-point hurdle'

image source, PA Media

A much stricter "Australian-style points-based" immigration system has long been promised for a post-Brexit Britain, but now we have the detail of what it will look like. Assuming it gets approval from MPs and peers, the main features will be:

  • No visas for low-skilled workers - the likes of restaurant, care home and food processing plant staff.
  • Visitors - from EU or non-EU countries - will be able to come to the UK for six months without a visa, but won't be able to work.
  • Overseas workers will have to speak English and have the offer of a skilled job with an "approved sponsor".
  • They'll also need to collect points elsewhere - with certain qualifications, for example - in order to clear the 70-point hurdle.

Some rules will be loosened to help those looking to recruit - for example, the scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture will be expanded. There will also no longer be an overall cap on the number of skilled workers allowed to come and the salary cap for them will be lowered.

While business group the CBI has welcomed some of the proposals, it joins the likes of the Royal College of Nursing, the Food and Drink Federation and the National Farmers' Union who are very worried about shortages. Unison says the plans "spell absolute disaster for the care sector" in particular. Labour and the SNP seem to agree.

The government insists it wants employers to "move away" from relying on "cheap labour" from Europe and invest in retaining staff and developing automation technology.

The BBC Briefing team has produced an in-depth online guide to immigration - check it out. You can also find out how immigration has changed in your area in recent decades.

Brits 2020

Tuesday night saw one of the biggest nights in the music calendar, the Brit Awards, and as has become customary, it wasn't without its controversy. London rapper Dave won album of the year - moments after calling the prime minister a "racist". In a newly-written verse of his single Black, he also criticised the government response to Grenfell and attacked tabloid coverage of the Duchess of Sussex. Elsewhere, the 2020 Brits also saw Billie Eilish give the live debut of her James Bond theme, No Time To Die - but the lack of female representation among those recognised was a big talking point.

Virus ship

The first passengers are being allowed to disembark the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship quarantined for two weeks due to coronavirus. An outbreak has seen at least 542 passengers and crew infected on board - the biggest cluster outside mainland China - and passengers have described the difficult conditions on the ship. The UK government says it hopes to fly the 74 Britons back later this week. One British couple, Sally and David Abel, from Northamptonshire, say they have tested positive for the virus.

The BBC has a wealth of coverage on the outbreak, all collected here. Among the most recent pieces, BBC Sport's Laura Scott looks at the potential impact on this summer's Olympics in Tokyo.

How can $10bn fight climate change?

By Manish Pandey, BBC Newsbeat reporter

Ten billion dollars - or £7.7bn - sounds like a serious amount of money. It's how much the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, has said he'll spend to fight climate change. But what do you even spend $10bn on? And is it anywhere near enough? According to Prof Elizabeth Robinson, we already know what a lot of the solutions are but "they're still not happening". Elizabeth, an expert in environmental economics from the University of Reading, suggests the money could be spent on persuading governments to stop funding fossil fuels. "We need to start investing in clean energy instead like renewable. If we do that we're a lot of the way there."

What the papers say

There's much coverage of those immigration plans. The Daily Mail says they represent the "biggest shake-up to border rules" since the UK joined the Common Market in 1973. The i says the country is "closing the door" to low-skilled migrant workers. The Daily Express feels the tough new border controls are aiming to "encourage talent", but points out that a plumber with good English and a £24,000-a-year contract would be blocked from entering. Elsewhere, the Times reveals that a new offside law could be implemented before this summer's Euro 2020 football championships. It'll require "daylight" between the attacker and the defender. The Daily Mirror suggests the change could solve what it describes as the "VAR nightmare".

Daily digest

Storm Dennis More heavy rain coming

Army deaths BBC investigates incidents in training

'Uncertain future' Report looks at childhood around the world

Oxford University Call to scrap "elitist" application fee

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If you read one thing today

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