No10 to shut door on EU mi­grants two years early

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front Page - By Ed­ward Mal­nick SUN­DAY PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

THE Prime Min­is­ter is pre­par­ing to im­pose new re­stric­tions on low-skilled mi­grants mov­ing to Bri­tain on the first day af­ter the Brexit tran­si­tion pe­riod ends in De­cem­ber, The Sun­day Tele­graph can dis­close.

Un­der rad­i­cal plans be­ing drawn up by Boris John­son’s aides, the Gov­ern­ment would ef­fec­tively bring for­ward its post-Brexit im­mi­gra­tion shake-up by two years, re­mov­ing a tem­po­rary ex­ten­sion of the cur­rent rules un­til 2023 that had been de­manded by busi­ness groups and promised by Theresa May.

The pro­pos­als are ex­pected to be pre­sented to the Cab­i­net this week by

Priti Patel, the Home Sec­re­tary, as part of a pa­per on the UK’s fu­ture im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem. Last night a No10 source con­firmed: “We need to de­liver change and busi­nesses need to be pre­pared for un­con­trolled mi­gra­tion of low-skilled work­ers to end this year.”

The move will put Mr John­son and Ms Patel on a col­li­sion course with busi­ness groups such as the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try, which has in­sisted that firms will need “at least two years to adapt to any new im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem”.

The dis­clo­sure comes af­ter Sa­jid Javid, the Chan­cel­lor, is­sued a sep­a­rate warn­ing to busi­nesses to drop their de­mands for the UK to stay closely tied to the EU af­ter Brexit, say­ing that firms

had had three years to pre­pare for

Brexit.

Mr John­son is plan­ning to in­tro­duce an Aus­tralian-style points-based im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem.

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign he re­vealed that the scheme would in­clude pre­vent­ing lower-skilled work­ers mov­ing to the UK un­less there is a “spe­cific short­age” of staff in their sec­tor, such as con­struc­tion. Those who ar­rive will only be able to stay tem­po­rar­ily.

Mrs May’s im­mi­gra­tion White Pa­per, pub­lished in 2018 while Mr Javid was the home sec­re­tary, ac­knowl­edged the “chal­lenges faced by … em­ploy­ers … who would find it dif­fi­cult im­me­di­ately to adapt” to new im­mi­gra­tion rules.

It pro­posed a “time-lim­ited route for tem­po­rary short-term work­ers”, amount­ing to two years in to­tal.

How­ever, Mr John­son’s aides are un­der­stood to have con­cluded that the public will ex­pect to see sig­nif­i­cant changes to the coun­try’s bor­der pol­icy once the Brexit tran­si­tion pe­riod ends in De­cem­ber.

A key pledge of the of­fi­cial Leave cam­paign was to “take back con­trol”.

Mr John­son will make a fi­nal de­ci­sion fol­low­ing a re­view be­ing car­ried out by the Mi­gra­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee on how a points-based sys­tem would work. One op­tion that is un­der­stood to have found favour with No10 is re­plac­ing the cur­rent en­try rights for low-skilled work­ers with quo­tas for spe­cific sec­tors.

Last year The Sun­day Tele­graph dis­closed that the Prime Min­is­ter had signed off plans to al­low fruit and veg­etable farm­ers to hire up to 10,000 work­ers from out­side the EU for tem­po­rary roles in 2020 – an in­crease from a tem­po­rary quota of 2,500 in 2019.

If put into ef­fect, the plans would be likely to set Mr John­son firmly apart from the next Labour leader on the is­sue of im­mi­gra­tion.

Lisa Nandy, the most sym­pa­thetic of the can­di­dates to­wards Brexit sup­port­ers, last week is­sued a de­fence of the EU’s free move­ment rules, stat­ing: “We should have been bold enough to de­fend free move­ment, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties and ben­e­fits it brings.”

Last night, it emerged that Boris John­son is plan­ning to move the House of Lords to the north of Eng­land per­ma­nently.

York has emerged as the fron­trun­ner to host the new sec­ond cham­ber, with dis­used, gov­ern­ment-owned land close to the rail­way sta­tion al­ready iden­ti­fied as a po­ten­tial site, The Sun­day Times re­ported.

Birm­ing­ham is also said to be in the run­ning as a pos­si­ble fu­ture home for more than 800 peers.

‘We have an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity to change the way our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem works’

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