Low-skilled workers from EU no longer have automatic right to work in Harlow after Brexit

News / Wed 19th Dec 2018 at 12:29pm

LOW-skilled workers from EU countries will no longer have the automatic right to work in the UK after Brexit, under proposed new immigration rules reports the BBC.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the plans – to be published later – will not include a “specific target” for reducing numbers coming into the UK.

But they would bring net migration down to “sustainable levels”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

There was “no reason to think” the plans would harm the economy, he added.

Asked repeatedly if the government was sticking to its manifesto commitment to bring annual net migration down to the tens of thousands, Mr Javid would only say “the objective is to bring net migration down to more sustainable levels”.

Following Mr Javid’s interview, Downing Street sources said the manifesto commitment to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands remains.

The home secretary said most people would agree the current level, 273,000, was “very high” and it should be cut to a level that “meets first our economic need but at the same time is not too high a burden on our communities or infrastructure”.

He said the new immigration system would be based around skills rather than where people came from and would be the “biggest shake-up in 40 years”.

The much-delayed White Paper is expected to include:

Scrapping the current cap on the number of skilled workers such as doctors or engineers from the EU and elsewhere
A consultation on a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas
Low-skilled workers may be able to apply for short-term visas of up to a year
Plans to phase in the new system from 2021

The White Paper – a document setting out proposed new laws before they are formalised in a government bill – is due to be published later on Wednesday.

The ending of free movement is a key part of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, although any replacement system is set to be part of post-Brexit trade talks.

Mr Javid has previously suggested his plans do not depend on the UK leaving the EU on 29 March in an orderly manner, saying freedom of movement will end “deal or no deal”.

Mr Javid described the White Paper as “delivering on the clear instruction to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people.

“It will be a single, skills-based immigration system built around the talent and expertise people can bring, rather than where they come from – maximising the benefits of immigration and demonstrating the UK is open for business.”

No cap on high-skilled workers

The White Paper will introduce a new visa route for skilled migrants, from Europe and beyond.

It accepts a recommendation from the independent Migration Advisory Committee to scrap the current limit of 20,700 on workers classed as high-skilled coming to the UK using .

Tier 2 is the name for general work visas for people from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland who have been offered a skilled job in the UK. Eligible professions include nurses and doctors.

There will be a consultation about the salary threshold of £30,000 amid opposition to such a cap from business and some cabinet members.

The £30,000 minimum earnings rule already applies to non-EU workers in most Tier 2 visa cases but could also apply to migrants from the EU.

Extending it to skilled migrants could affect the NHS’s ability to recruit the staff it needs, the body representing NHS trusts has warned.

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