Sun, 09 Aug 2020

A woman walks past the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, on July 7, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

"The British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system. Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country's full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021."

LONDON, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The biggest change for a generation in Britain's immigration system will see the end of freedom of movement for millions of European Union nationals, British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced Monday.

From Jan. 1, 2021, when the new rules come into effect, residents of the EU's 27 member states will be treated equally to arrivals from the rest of the world.

But EU citizens who started living in Britain by Dec. 31, 2020 will still be able to apply to settle in Britain under the EU settlement scheme until 30 June 2021. More than 3.7 million EU citizens have so far made applications to settle in Britain.

Patel unveiled a 130-page document outlining new immigration rules following the country's departure from the EU after almost 50 years of membership. It will be centered around a points system to determine who will be allowed into Britain, and who will be refused access.

A shopper enters Selfridges department store in Oxford Street as it reopens in London, Britain on June 15, 2020. (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua)

A "NEW FAIRER" SYSTEM

In its immigration document, the Home Office said the new points-based system will be a fair system, treating people from every part of the world equally.

"The British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system. Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country's full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021," Patel said.

People applying to work in Britain will also need a level of English language to support integration, ensuring migrants can live and be part of the wider community in Britain.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Patel said: "At a time where an increased number of people across the UK are looking for work, the new points-based system will encourage employers to invest in the domestic UK workforce, rather than simply relying on labor from abroad."

"We are also making necessary changes, so it is simpler for employers to attract the best and brightest from around the world to come to the UK to complement the skills we already have."

A new graduate route will allow international students to stay in Britain once they have completed their studies for two years for students gaining a masters' degree, and three years for students who have completed a PhD degree.

A global talent scheme will also allow scientists and researchers to head to Britain without a job offer.

People sit on steps of the National Gallery in London, Britain, on May 17, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

CARE WORKERS EXCLUDED

Controversially, the new rules will exclude thousands of low-pay care workers who traditionally head to Britain to form the backbone of staff looking after the elderly and disabled. Instead the government wants care staff to be recruited from among the British population.

Under the new system Britain's frontiers will be closed to non-skilled workers, posing fears that Britain's care system could find it hard to recruit staff.

Currently thousands of low-paid care workers from around the world are employed in homes caring for disabled and elderly people.

All applicants, both EU and non-EU citizens, will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor in Britain, that the job offer is at the required skill level, with a minimum salary of 20,480 pounds (about 25,831 U.S. dollars) a year.

Mark Adams, CEO of Community Integrated Care warned there was already a shortage of 122,000 workers in social care in Britain.

It will not be possible to build the workforce capacity the care sector needs by recruiting from within Britain as long as social care remains, largely, a minimum wage sector, Adams said.

In response, a prime minister's official spokesman said the government wants employers to "invest more in training and development for care workers in this country".

Speaking to journalists, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain's new points-based immigration is not about slamming the gates, promising there will be enough recruits for the social care sector. ■

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