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Boris Johnson says UK will put 'people before passports' once free movement ends

2 min read

Boris Johnson has vowed that the UK's immigration system will put "people before passports" after Brexit.

The Prime Minister said he was committed to creating a "fairer" system once freedom of movement ends next year.

Mr Johnson has already outlined plans for a new Australian-style points based system to come into place next year, with a report from the independent Migration Advisory Service into the feasibility of the scheme due by the end of the month.

Addressing leaders at the UK-Africa investment summit in London, the PM said the new system would be "more equal" than the current regime because immigrants would all be treated the same regardless of their nationality.

"Change is coming and our system is becoming fairer and more equal between all our global friends and partners, treating people the same, wherever they come from," he said.

"By putting people before passports, we will be able to attract the best talent from around the world, wherever they may be."

He added: "Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we're also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come.

"We want to build a new future as a global free-trading nation. That's what we'll be embarking on, on 31 January."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also used the speech to announce an end to UK aid funding for investment in coal mining or coal power stations overseas.

"Not another penny of UK taxpayers' money will be directly invested in digging up coal or burning it for electricity," he said.

"There's no point in the UK reducing the amount of coal we burn if we then trundle over to Africa and line our pockets by encouraging African states to use more of it.

"He added: "Instead we are going to focus on supporting the transition to lower and zero carbon alternatives."

But the announcement came under fire from shadow international development minister Preet Kaur Gill, who said: "The Conservatives will continue to misuse the country's aid budget to prop up the needs of business elites rather than spend it on tackling global poverty, inequality and the climate crisis.

"Trade and investment deals are not a panacea for ending poverty, especially when they're written in line with the demands of big business, and don't have safeguards in place to protect public services or ensure the most marginalised groups aren't left behind."

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