Priti Patel to flesh out UK’s plans for ‘fairer, firmer’ post-Brexit immigration system
The new points-based system will see EU nationals treated in the same way as those from outside the bloc. (PA)
The Home Secretary is set to unveil further details of the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system on Monday.
Priti Patel promised that a “fairer, firmer, skills-led system” would kick in on January 1 when the European Union’s freedom of movement rules no longer apply to the UK.
The Government has already set out the core principles behind the new points-based system, which will see Britain’s borders closed to ‘non-skilled’ workers and many required to have a job offer with a minimum salary of £25,600 to apply.
Under the post-Brexit set-up, EU nationals will be treated in the same way as those from outside the bloc.
Ms Patel, who will flesh out the plans in a 130-page document on Monday, said: “The British people voted to 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.”
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said his party would “scrutinise the proposals on visas very carefully” but warned that the proposals could close the door on workers who have played a vital role in the coronavirus response.
He added: “The government has rushed through immigration legislation with very little detail in the middle of a global pandemic.
“There are real concerns that this will cause major problems for our NHS and our care sector, at a time when we are still waiting for the government to make good on their promise to scrap the unfair immigration health surcharge for workers who were being charged to access the very services they were keeping going to help others during the toughest of times.”
But, speaking ahead of the document's publication, immigration minister Kevin Foster told PoliticsHome the new system should prompt a rethink of the way social care providers recruit and pay their staff.
“I think many people would if say the lesson you've taken from the recent Covid crisis is that the focus on social care needs to be on more recruitment at or near the minimum wage from abroad with no English language requirement then that's a strange conclusion to have drawn,” he said.
“What we actually need to look at is how we get more people seeing care as a career, seeing more people coming into it and wanting to train for it.“
The minister added: “Immigration is part of our strategy for our UK labour market, not an alternative to it.
“When we've got people looking for work, needing to get back into employment following the economic impacts of what we've seen with Covid-19, it makes absolute sense that they are prioritised first and that employers are encouraged to give attractive packages, and look to invest in the UK workforce rather than looking to immigration as an alternative.”
The new system will see those wishing to live and work in the UK required to gain 70 points, with credit awarded for job offers, relevant academic qualifications and English language skills.
Those with skills in “shortage occupations”, including nursing and civil engineering, will earn extra points, and the Government has promised a series of visas including a route for health and care workers and a ‘global talent’ scheme to allow scientists and researchers to come to the UK.
EU citizens who are resident in the UK by the end of this year will have until June 30 2021 to apply to stay in the country through the Home Office’s separate EU settlement scheme.