Patel: UK “ready to welcome the best and brightest”
Home secretary Priti Patel has said that the UK is “ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent”, with further details of the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans due to come this week.
The new “fairer, firmer and skills-led” points-based immigration system will come into force from January 1, 2020, after the post-Brexit transition period lapses.
Under the planned system, any who wish to live and work in the UK must accumulate 70 points. Points would be awarded for desirable qualities such as holding a PhD, being able to speak English, having a concrete job offer, and having a proposed salary over £22,000.
Any individuals coming to work in sectors facing recruitment shortages, including civil engineering and nursing, will be subject to additional points.
The government has also made plans for a health and care visa system to ensure health and social care workers can continue to come to the UK beyond 2020.
Meanwhile, international students will be allowed to remain in the UK visa-free for a minimum of two years once they have completed their degree.
Patel 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 January 1 2021."
However, the Labour Party has insisted that the new system could still cause “major problems” for the NHS and care industry.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: "We will scrutinise the proposals on visas very carefully. 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."
Over the weekend, the home secretary revealed that the UK and France had agreed to collaborate on a new intelligence unit to help manage immigration and borders and curb illegal immigration and “people-smuggling”.
Patel said: “Despite all of the action taken by law enforcement to date - intercepting boats, making arrests, returning people to France and putting the criminals responsible behind bars - the numbers [of illegal immigration attempts] continue to increase."
Over the weekend, the government also announced plans for £705 million in funding to help establish the UK’s new border infrastructure, ready for when the nation leaves the EU single market and customs union after December 31.
Customs checks on EU goods will not commence until July 2021, having been pushed back in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.