Highly-educated migrants who have received world-leading awards or demonstrated exceptional talent will be allowed to move to the UK without a job offer after Brexit under Tory proposals.
Detailing their plan for an immigration system for when Britain leaves the European Union, the Conservatives said they would allocate points on a range of criteria and de facto place people into three categories.
Entrepreneurs, investors and those who have received awards in a qualifying field and have been endorsed as a recognised or emerging leader would receive fast-track entry – and there would be no cap on numbers.
Skilled workers – such as doctors, nurses and other health professionals – who have a confirmed job offer would be placed in another category, with those eligible for the NHS visa receiving fast-track entry and reduced fees.
We will be able to create a fairer system, which will attract the brightest and the best from around the world to come here and contribute to our society and economy, while getting overall immigration downPriti Patel
Sector-specific rules-based schemes would apply for low or unskilled workers to meet labour market shortages, such as for seasonal agricultural workers.
A digital immigration status will be introduced for all migrants beyond 2022 which would allow for improved enforcement and make it easier for migrants to prove their status.
All visas would be time-limited, in-country switching would be allowed and all migrants would have to pay a health surcharge for every year of their visa unless they gain settled status.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), meanwhile, would be required to produce an annual report advising on how to lower overall immigration, meet the needs of the UK economy and improve the country’s productivity.
The Conservatives have said they will immediately set up a formal exchange programme with the Australian and Canadian governments to share best practice during the development of the system.
And they have pledged to appoint an expert implementation group to ensure the rollout of the new system from January 20221.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Tories would create a “fairer system” which would attract the “brightest and the best from around the world” while getting immigration down.
She said: “The vote to leave the EU was a vote to take back control of our borders, and that is exactly what a Conservative majority government will do by getting Brexit done and ending freedom of movement.
“Immigration will finally be subject to democratic control. We will be able to create a fairer system, which will attract the brightest and the best from around the world to come here and contribute to our society and economy, while getting overall immigration down.
“Corbyn’s Labour want uncontrolled and unlimited immigration, placing huge strain on public services like our NHS.”