How the new regime could work
Ministers were at loggerheads with business leaders last night after a leaked 82-page document revealed plans for tough migration rules. Executive Political Editor JACK DOYLE examines what the dossier says and what it means:
FREE MOVEMENT ENDS
What it says: ‘Free movement will end when Britain leaves the EU’
What it means: Rules that allow unlimited mass migration will not apply after midnight on March 30, 2019. However firms have time to adjust. Initially, EU nationals will still have the right to enter the country to work, study and set up businesses. The rights of EU nationals already here will be dealt with separately.
THE FIRST STEPS
What it says: ‘A smooth and orderly process towards the future system’
What it means: During what officials call an ‘implementation’ phase EU nationals will have to register with the Home Office for permission to stay longer than six months. Low-skilled workers will have to leave after two years, while professionals and those with needed skills will be given longer – up to five years.
What it says: ‘Wherever possible, UK employers should look to meet their labour needs from resident labour’
What it means: When Gordon Brown said he wanted ‘British jobs for British workers’, EU rules made it impossible. After Brexit, firms could be forced to prove they cannot find a UK national before hiring from overseas. EU nationals will not be allowed to come here simply to look for work.
CAP ON THE LOW SKILLED
What it says: ‘Limit the number of EU citizens able to come to the UK to undertake low skilled work’
What it means: The paper discusses several options to limit the number of low-skilled EU nationals, including a formal cap on numbers, a minimum salary level or admission based on skills.
What it says: ‘We will no longer apply the EU definition of extended family members’
What it means: Under free movement, there was almost no limit on the number of non-EU family members, however distantly related, that EU nationals could bring to the country. In future, only close family would be permitted. Migrant workers on less than £18,600 a year could be banned from bringing in relatives. This is likely to anger EU leaders and could lead to similar restrictions on Britons wanting to work on the continent.
CRIMINALS KICKED OUT
What it says: ‘Leaving the EU allows us to create a single, consistent approach to criminality across the immigration system’
What it means: EU rules which make it very difficult to stop convicted criminals from entering the country will be torn up, and new border checks imposed. EU nationals who commit an offence in the UK will – like non-EU nationals – face automatic removal if jailed for a year.
What it says: ‘We will impose the highest standards of security’
What it means: Currently EU nationals are allowed to enter Britain using just an ID card. In future, all migrants will require a passport. EU nationals living in Britain will require biometric permits.
MAGNET FOR TALENT
What it says: Britain should be a ‘magnet for international talent’.
What it means: Ministers want to encourage workers with needed skills, as well as major investors, business leaders, academics and other high value migrants to come to Britain.