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 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 PhD relevant to the job, speaking English and earning more than £22,000 per year,” says an advisory by Britain’s Home Office.
“There are also additional points for those with job offers in ‘shortage occupations’.”
The relaxed visa rules will also benefit Kenyan students who will now be allowed more time after completing studies in the UK universities.
Under what Britain’s Home Office calls “Graduate route”, which opens in the Summer 2021, Kenyan students, just like other international ones, will be allowed more time to stay in the UK to look for jobs than the four months under the EU rules.
International students completing undergraduate or master’s degrees will be able to stay in Britain for two years and those completing a PhD three years.
Britain says the new “Graduate route” system will “make it easier for some of the best, international graduates to secure skilled jobs in the UK and contribute to the UK’s economic growth”.
“Leaving the European Union means the UK will be open to the brightest and best from around the world – and Kenya is very much a part of that,” British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott said in a statement on Monday.
“I’m particularly pleased that the new Graduate Route will be opening in summer 2021, allowing Kenya and the UK’s fantastic and talented minds to work even more closely together.”
After nearly four years of politicking, haggling and delays that cost the political careers of two Prime ministers – Theresa Mary (2019) and David Cameron (2016) – the UK formally left the EU on January 31.
There is, however, a transitional period that ends in December 2020.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said Brexit has allowed “British people take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system”.
“Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021,” Ms Patel said in the statement.
“Britain is open for business and ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent.”
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.