UK Immigration Bill
gains initial approval

The UK government’s controversial Immigration Bill has been voted through the House of Commons after receiving initial approval from MPs. As a result, the UK is now one step closer to ending free movement and implementing a new post-Brexit points-based immigration system.

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill returned to the House of Commons on Monday 18th May for its second reading debate and passed easily with 351 votes to 252. After passing this initial approval stage the Bill will be subject to further scrutiny, but this is a significant move forward for the government in delivering its stated aim of introducing a ‘firm and fair points-based immigration system’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: This historic piece of legislation gives the UK full control of our immigration system for the first time in decades and the power to determine who comes to this country. Our new points-based system is firmer, fairer, and simpler. It will attract the people we need to drive our economy forward and lay the foundation for a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy.”

What will the new points-based immigration system look like?

The government has pledged to ‘take back control of the UK borders’ and deliver an immigration system that attracts workers based on the skills they can bring, not where they are from.

Proposals already announced by the government suggest visas will be awarded to applicants who score a sufficient number of points based on set criteria, including the ability to speak English to a high standard, holding a job offer from an approved sponsor and meeting the required salary threshold of £25,600.

Critically, the new system will put EU citizens and non-EU citizens on an equal footing when it comes to immigration.

The change in rules surrounding hiring EU workers introduces a significant change for employers, who will need to adapt to the new requirements. From January 2021 when the new rules come into effect, any business looking to hire EU or non-EU workers will need to hold a valid sponsor licence.

What happens next?

Now that the House of Commons has given its initial approval to the general principles of the law, the Bill will go on to receive further parliamentary scrutiny. If it is eventually passed, EU freedom of movement will end and a new framework will be introduced to determine who can live and work in the UK.

The exact details of this new framework are yet to be established, and these proposals will be subject to further parliamentary approval.

Prepare for upcoming changes to UK immigration

The UK’s immigration system is changing. From 1st January 2021, the new points-based immigration system will come into effect, with the new rules applying to EU and non-EU citizens alike.

Ending free movement will pose challenges for businesses recruiting skilled workers from the EU, and companies must therefore be prepared to adapt to this change.

By partnering with Smith Stone Walters, your business will be primed to adopt the changes ahead of time, ensuring you remain compliant with immigration law. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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