What are the UK's post-Brexit immigration plans? Euronews answers

What are the UK's post-Brexit immigration plans? Euronews answers
By Pauline Bock
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'Freedom of movement will come to and end," says the British Home Secretary. Euronews takes a look at the measures outlined by the post-Brexit immigration policy.


The British government has announced the biggest overhaul of its immigration policy in decades.

A white paper on immigration, published today, said the system would prioritise skilled workers and treat EU and non-EU citizens alike.

Concern about the long-term social and economic impact of immigration helped drive the UK's 2016 referendum vote to leave the bloc.

But Prime Minister Theresa May's promise to end free movement of EU nationals has left some business leaders worried about the ability to hire the staff they need.

The government did not spell out a specific target for annual net migration but said it would reduce the number to "sustainable levels". The Conservative Party manifesto pledged to reduce immigration to below 100,000.

How will it work?

There will not be a cap on the number of skilled workers coming to Britain, but they will have to be sponsored by a company and will be subject to a minimum salary threshold, the level of which will be set following consultation with businesses over the next year.

A transitional scheme for temporary workers will allow EU nationals and workers of any skill level from other "low risk" countries to come to Britain without a job offer for up to 12 months at a time. They would then have to leave Britain for a 12 month "cooling off period" before they can seek to return on another temporary worker visa.

The "tightly constrained" scheme, with no rights to settle, bring dependants or access certain public funds, will be reviewed by 2025 and could be closed if economic conditions warrant it.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the temporary workers' scheme would "ensure businesses have the staff they need and to help employers move smoothly to the new immigration system".

EU nationals will not need a visa for a tourist visit to Britain of up to six months, the policy paper said, and Irish citizens will continue to be able to travel and work freely in Britain.

When will the new system start?

The new system will be phased in from the start of the post-Brexit implementation period, currently set to run until the end of December 2020.

"We are absolutely not closing our doors" with these new immigration rules, Javid told parliament.

The government will introduce its post-Brexit immigration legislation to parliament on Thursday.

What do critics say?

The Labour MP and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, responding to the government’s new immigration policy, 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.”

She described the new system as “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".

Abbott accused the Conservative party of “using crude anti-migrant rhetoric to try to cover up for their abject failure of managing the economy and the Brexit negotiations.”

There are just 100 days until Brexit, which is set to happen on 29 March 2019.

PM Theresa May is yet to win support for her Brexit deal, which she struck last month with EU leaders to maintain close ties with the bloc, in a deeply-divided parliament.

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