The Daily Telegraph

Boris: Learn English if you want to move to UK

Vote Leave leaders pledge Australian-style points for immigratio­n after Brexit

- By Peter Dominiczak and Steven Swinford

MIGRANTS will be barred from entering Britain after a Brexit unless they can speak good English and have the right skills for a job, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove pledge today as they set out their vision for the UK outside the European Union.

In a joint declaratio­n, the Justice Secretary and the former mayor of London announce plans for an Australian-style points-based immigratio­n system to come into force in the years after Britain leaves the EU, should the country vote out on June 23.

Their statement, which is also signed by the employment minister, Priti Patel, will infuriate Downing Street and represents a major challenge to David Cameron’s authority.

It will be seen as the first policy of a Euroscepti­c manifesto that could be enacted after a Brexit and will bolster claims by Mr Cameron’s critics that he cannot remain as Prime Minister until 2020 in the event of a Leave vote.

After a vote to leave the EU the “automatic right of all EU citizens to come to live and work in the UK will end”, Mr Johnson and Mr Gove say.

Under the Australian system, migrants are only granted skilled migration visas if they pass a points test based on what type of job they do, their age, English language skills, previous employment and education.

Mr Johnson and Mr Gove make the interventi­on days after figures showed that net migration to the UK has risen to 330,000, the second highest level on record. They warn that the scale of immigratio­n is putting a “particular strain” on public services and that “class sizes will rise and waiting lists will lengthen” if Britain does not leave.

The pressure will intensify if Britain votes to remain, they warn, as EU migrants come to this country to escape rising unemployme­nt in their home countries caused by the euro crisis. Two polls show that the Leave campaign has taken a lead with less than one month until the referendum. Telephone and online surveys by pollsters ICM put the Brexit campaign ahead on 52 per cent, with Remain on 48 per cent of the vote.

Leave campaigner­s intend to focus on migration in the weeks ahead of the referendum, believing that the issue can win them the vote.

The joint statement came as clashes between leading Conservati­ves intensifie­d despite a pledge by the Prime Minister to debate the issues.

In an interview on BBC Two last night, Mr Johnson appeared to criticise Mr Cameron and George Osborne di- rectly for being part of a “small group of people who do very well out of the current system”. He suggested that they favour staying in because it enables them to “go mwah mwah” with Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, at the Davos summit in Switzerlan­d.

Mr Johnson also compared the Chancellor’s warnings to “an avalanche of scaremonge­ring, a sort of Himalayan snow job of statistics”. Mr Osborne in turn accused the Leave campaign of “fantasy economics” and said “ordinary workers” rather than Leave campaigner­s would be hit by a Brexit.

In the joint statement, also signed by Labour MP Gisela Stuart, Mr Johnson and Mr Gove say that a points system is the only way to “restore public trust in immigratio­n policy”. The leading Euroscepti­cs warn that “class sizes will rise and [NHS] waiting lists will lengthen if we don’t tackle free movement”.

“By the next general election, we will create a genuine Australian-style points

‘Class sizes will rise and [NHS] waiting lists will lengthen if we don’t tackle free movement’

based immigratio­n system,” Mr Johnson and Mr Gove say. “The automatic right of all EU citizens to come to live and work in the UK will end, as will EU control over vital aspects of our social security system. EU citizens will be subject to legislatio­n made by those we elect in Westminste­r, not in Brussels. We could then create fairness between EU citizens and others, including those from Commonweal­th countries.

“Those seeking entry for work or study should be admitted on the basis of their skills without discrimina­tion on the ground of nationalit­y.

“To gain the right to work, economic migrants must be suitable for the job in question. For relevant jobs, we will be able to ensure all those who come have the ability to speak good English. Such a system can be much less bu- reaucratic and much simpler than the existing system for non-EU citizens.”

Mr Johnson and Mr Gove say the new system will be “fairer, more humane, and better for the economy”.

“We will end discrimina­tion against non-EU countries. We will end our support for the EU’s disastrous policies that have encouraged the people-smugglers.”

Mr Johnson and Mr Gove make clear that their new rules will not affect Irish citizens or EU citizens “already lawfully resident in the UK”.

Last night Liam Fox, the former defence secretary who backs Brexit, told a debate at the Hay literary festival that people were less concerned about passport checks at the UK border and more worried that “people can come to the UK and settle here whether or not we want it”.

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