The Government has unveiled a White Paper on plans for the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system. Here are some of the key points.
There will be two new work routes. One will be reserved for skilled migrants, provided they are sponsored by an employer. There will be no cap on skilled work visas.
The Government also proposes to introduce a “transitional” route for short-term workers. Applicants will not need a particular skill level or definite job offer, but visas will expire after 12 months and be restricted to specific countries.
As now, there will be no limit on the numbers of international students who can come to study in the UK.
Masters and bachelors students studying at an institution with degree-awarding powers will have six months’ post-study leave to find permanent skilled work. Those who have completed a PhD will have a year.
Citizens of current EU member states will not be required to get a visa to visit the UK. An entitlement for tourists to come to the country for up to six months will continue.
A new Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme will be introduced for visitors and transit passengers who do not need a visa to obtain permission prior to travel.
The Tory target of bringing net migration down to tens of thousands came under scrutiny in the lead-up to the paper’s publication.
The document says the future system will aim to control numbers coming to live and work in the UK “in line with the continued commitment to reduce annual net migration to sustainable levels as set out in the Conservative Party manifesto, rather than the hundreds of thousands we have consistently seen over the last two decades”.
– Family and settlement
There is no intention to significantly change rules for family migration and permanent settlement, which the paper says are designed to promote integration by ensuring migrants are financially independent, can speak English and understand British values.
Stricter UK criminality thresholds on refusal of entry and removals will apply to EU citizens after the post-Brexit implementation period ends. Under the existing regime, non-EU nationals sentenced to 12 months or more in prison must be considered for automatic deportation.
The Government is committed to a “fair and humane” immigration policy, the paper says. It adds: “It is right that we, for example, require right to work and rent checks and can deny access to or opening of current accounts to tackle illegal immigration and prevent abuse of benefits and services, but it is essential that we improve our ability to differentiate between the lawful and unlawful populations.”