Great Britain is leaving the European Union on January 31. However, the future relationship between the EU and the UK has yet to be negotiated. While many EU politicians consider the current schedule to be unrealistic, including EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the UK leadership continues to advance its plans diligently – particularly in terms of post-Brexit immigration.
Here, Boris Johnson has long-planned new restrictions on low-skilled immigrants, which ought to come into force just one day after the end of the Brexit transition phase at the end of December 2020. Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to present corresponding proposals in the next few days as part of the new immigration regulations in the cabinet.
This plan would overturn Johnson’s commitment that his predecessor Theresa May had made to corporate groups and that after Brexit, there should have been a two-year deferral for new immigration regulations until 2023, however.
Johnson unveiled long-awaited details of his plans for an Australian-style points system a few days before his election victory. His three-tier system aims to accelerate the immigration of “highly skilled” workers and also allows a second tier of “skilled workers” to immigrate to the UK for employment.
The third tier of low-skilled workers could only obtain employment if either there were a shortage of staff or under an exception for sectors such as construction due to notorious high demands.
Already in December, Johnson had written on Twitter that the UK sought to encourage and welcome highly qualified immigrants in the UK while maintaining control in order to plan to pay for our public services accordingly.
Meanwhile, Labour described the Tories’ plan as ignorant and reactionary and warned that changes would affect the NHS and civil service staffing and key private-sector industries in particular.
Business associations, agriculture industry, the hospitality industry, construction and the care sector, in particular, have also criticized the government’s plans. All rely on workers from the EU.
No 10’s announcement was made after Chancellor of the Exchequer Javid had already indicated the Tories’ plan by advising companies to recant their call for continued close cooperation between the EU and England. Javid justified this by saying that the companies had already had three years to prepare for any Brexit labor consequences.
Javid said that “there will not be alignment, we will not be a rule-taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the year.”
In order to stimulate the UK’s economy post Brexit, Javid has pledged the government’s commitment to making substantial investments, especially in the infrastructure of the economically dependent regions in the Midlands and the north of the country. In the future, significantly more money should also be invested in the qualification of specialists. For this, Javid seeks to increase taxes in the medium term, he indicated. Javid hopes that this will kickstart the recently weak economic growth, and the continued low productivity rate in the country – through employment remains at a record level.
The UK government has long been trying to reduce the immigration surplus. The previous year the figure was estimated at 226,000 people by the British Statistics Service ONS. However, the numbers have declined since the referendum of 2015, even though not as significantly as anticipated.
EU citizens have so far been allowed to live and work in Great Britain without any issues. With the Brexit deadline looming, this may change, particularly for individuals who have not lived in the country for at least five years and are thus not eligible for settled status.
Skilled workers from all over the world are still attracted to the UK, which in turn forces the UK to restrict the movement of unskilled and unemployed individuals. Due to the urgency, this will very now likely happen before December 2020.