Priti Patel to set out plans for immigration post-Brexit
Priti Patel will today set out further details of the future of UK immigration post-Brexit, with the Home Secretary expected to unveil plans for a ‘point-based system’ which would see the UK’s borders closed to ‘non-skilled’ workers.
Under the plans, those wishing to live and work in the UK would need to gain 70 points, which would be awarded for criteria such as having a job offer, holding a PhD relevant to the job, speaking English and earning more than £22,000.
Those with job offers in "shortage occupations" such as nursing and civil engineering would also be able to earn extra points.
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.
Under the post-Brexit set-up, EU nationals will be treated in the same way as those from outside the bloc.
Patel, who will provide greater detail on plans in a 130-page document, 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 Holyrood’s sister site 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.”
Those with skills in “shortage occupations”, including nursing and civil engineering, will earn extra points, and the UK 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.