A significant part of the government’s plans when approaching their negotiations to leave the European Union (EU) have been focused on ending the right to freedom of movement for EU workers who wish to live, and work, in the UK. After guaranteeing this would come to an end, the government released their plans to allow those EU workers currently working in the UK to stay, allowing them to apply for “settled status” and work towards permanent residency.
In a report published by the Migration Advisory Committee recently, the government were advised to end beneficial immigration treatment for EU and EEA citizens, when compared to those from countries outside the bloc, once Brexit had taken place. These recommendations were agreed by the cabinet to apply to those who will enter the UK for work after the exit period.
The government has now further confirmed that the following rules will apply to all individuals wishing to travel to the UK for work:
- new schemes will be in place for citizens entering the UK for short-stay business trips and tourists
- security checks for short-stay visits will be undertaken before the visit takes place, in a similar way to the authorisation system in place within the United States
- a new immigration system for long visits will focus on skills that meet Britain’s needs
- applicants under this system will have to meet a minimum salary threshold to avoid competition with UK citizens, and their immediate family will be entitled to move with them if they are sponsored by the organisation
- the number of student visas will not be capped under the new system.
Detailed information on the new immigration system will be outlined in a white paper that will be published by the government this autumn. A new Immigration Bill will be introduced next year to implement these changes. It is anticipated that this policy may be amended under the current Brexit negotiations however this will remain to be seen.
Prime Minister Theresa May has explained that the aim of the new policy is to focus on the skill of workers, rather than the country where they come from, and will place high-skilled migrants on an equal footing regardless of whether they are from the EU or not. It is expected the system will decrease the number of low-skilled workers travelling to the UK for jobs.