The UK’s new Immigration Bill was introduced to the House of Commons yesterday, effectively ending the European Union’s rules on free movement.
It represents an important milestone in paving the way for the new UK points-based immigration system
“Our firmer and fairer points-based immigration system will attract the brightest and best from around the globe, prioritising those who come to Britain based on the skills they have to offer, not on the passport they hold,” said Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders an Immigration.
Once passed, the bill will give the UK full control over who comes to the country. By ending free movement, and bringing EU citizens under UK immigration controls, the bill will enable the newly announced UK points-based system to operate from 1st January 2021.
Details of the new points-based immigration system were announced by the Home Secretary in February, giving top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, engineers and academics. Overall levels of migration will be reduced.
Further information on the points-based system will be detailed in the Immigration Rules published later in the year.
The bill will, however, protect the long-held rights of Irish citizens, a unique status in place since the 1920s. It makes it clear Irish citizens will continue to freely enter and reside in the UK without requiring permission to do so after free movement ends.
EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to six months. However, the use of EEA national identity cards will be phased out for travel to the UK, with the Home Office setting out plans in due course.
EU citizens currently resident in the UK can still apply to remain permanently through the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.
Article published 6th March 2020