Government unveils plans to slash net migration after Brexit in low-skilled workers crackdown

Posted On: 
19th December 2018

Net migration will be brought down to "sustainable levels" thanks to a crackdown on the number of low-skilled workers entering the UK after Brexit, Sajid Javid will declare today.

The Government wants to bring net migration down to 'sustainable levels'
PA Images

The Home Secretary will make the pledge as he finally unveils the Government's long-awaited immigration white paper setting out its vision for how the system will operate in the future.

It comes after months of Cabinet wrangling over how to end freedom of movement and make good on the Leave campaign's pledge to "take back control" of the UK's borders post-Brexit.

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Rows between senior ministers on plans to introduce a £30,000 salary threshold for skilled migrants trying to enter the UK went on until last night, threatening the publication of the much-delayed document.

But speaking in advance of its unveiling, Mr Javid said: "We are delivering on the clear instruction to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people.

"It will be a single, skills-based immigration system built around the talent and expertise people can bring, rather than where they come from – maximising the benefits of immigration and demonstrating the UK is open for business."

At the moment, anyone from the EU is free to live and work in the UK. But under the new system, a visa will be introduced for skilled workers, while the present cap on the number of high-skilled professions such as doctors and engineers will be lifted entirely.

However, critics say the focus on earnings rather than place of origin will deny the UK access to vital migrant labour needed to keep the economy growing.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: "The Government has disgracefully labelled workers on less than £30,000 as low-skilled. Our economy and public services are kept ticking by this majority of workers.

"The Government is not, as it wrongly claims, using a skills-based criteria to meet the needs of our economy and our society. It is using an income-based system which allows derivatives traders free movement but which excludes nurses, social care workers and other professions in which we have severe skills or labour shortages.

"The Tories are, once again, using crude anti-migrant rhetoric to try to cover up for their abject failure of managing the economy and the Brexit negotiations."