If you’ve ever won a trophy at a soccer tournament, or a ribbon at a spelling bee, or an award for an art competition, it’s a recognition of some sort of accomplishment and proof that you’re really good at something. Adults feel a sense of accomplishment when they’re awarded for their work as well. The Nobel Prize, for example, is one of the most prestigious prizes in the fields of literature, physics, physiology or medicine, chemistry, economic sciences, and peace. When someone is awarded a Nobel Prize, they’re definitely considered an expert because of their years of studying, researching, and making discoveries in a specific field. Cool, right? Sure, but did you know that winning a prestigious prize also gets you on the fast track to living in the United Kingdom (UK)—that’s if you want to live or work there and you’re not a citizen already? Sounds like a hoax, but it’s not—we promise!
Recently, the UK announced additional qualifications for their points-based immigration system in which those who have won world-renowned awards can be fast-tracked for a visa. (Side note: a visa is a document issued by the government that allows a person who isn’t a citizen of the country to work or live there.) Why these award-winning people and not just anyone? The idea is that those who have won these awards will contribute to the growth of the country. For example, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist may share their knowledge with students at a university. A winner of an Oscar may make more movies in the United Kingdom, which may draw more film jobs to the country. You might think that this is a unique reward system, but it’s not. Australia’s points-based immigration system gives more points to those who’re more likely to contribute to society. The 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act created a way for the United States to attract skilled laborers. That act greatly changed the landscape of the United States, drawing more immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, not just from Europe. While some applaud the UK’s points-based immigration system because it’s skills-based versus location-based, others aren’t such a fan. Those who oppose the system think it’s a way for the government to control who enters the country and actually discourages migration into the UK. What do you think?