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 end free movement once and for all. To do this, the Government has passed the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act. This Act will provide the Government full control of our borders for the first time in many decades and means free movement will end at 11pm on 31 December 2020.
I welcome the Government’s commitment to building 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 am aware of reports in the media regarding rough sleepers and immigration rules. For the small minority of EEA migrant rough sleepers who continue to refuse government and local authority support and repeatedly engage in persistent anti-social behaviour, the new immigration reforms mean they could lose their right to be in the UK. This will mean EEA nationals can be treated the same as non-EEA nationals. I will continue to follow developments in this area as the Government seeks to build a new, fairer and truly global immigration system.
I have always believed that the new system is more than simply controlling immigration. I 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. This ambition 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.