When people voted to leave the EU, they did so in the knowledge that the free movement system imposed by the EU would end. The Home Secretary has been clear that she has a particular responsibility to take back control and bring an end to free movement and in this she has my full support.
To do this, the Government has introduced the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Commons. This Bill will end free movement and provide the Government full control of our borders for the first time in many decades.
On 19 February 2020, the government set out the details of the UK’s points-based immigration system. These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.
I welcome the Government’s commitment to build a fairer single, global immigration system which considers people based on their skills, rather than nationality. The Home Office has now released a policy statement outlining that it will replace free movement with the UK’s very own points-based system. This new system will prioritise those with the highest skills and greatest talents, including scientists, engineers, academics and innovators.
I have always believed that the new system is more than simply controlling immigration and am glad that the Government has committed to reducing the overall levels of migration, while ensuring we attract the best and brightest from across the world.
This process is also about the creation of a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy and explains why the Government will not be introducing a general low skilled or temporary work route. I welcome this approach as the UK needs to move away from relying on cheap labour from Europe and focus instead on investment in technology and automation.