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    UK announces plan to curb immigration after Brexit

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The British Government published on Wednesday a white paper on the immigration system it plans to establish after Brexit. The publication came 100 days ahead of the scheduled date for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, which continues to cause concern in economic circles.

    Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the new immigration system, which would end free circulation of European citizens in the United Kingdom, satisfied Britons’ wish to take back control of the borders.

    Prior to the document’s publication, he said it would be a unique immigration system, based on the skills and expertise people can contribute, rather than their countries of origin.

    Javid also announced his intention to reduce the migration balance to a “viable” level, although he did not mention any figures. The programme of his Conservative Party targets a reduction to about 100,000 per year, as against 280,000 in 2017.

    The new criteria for issuing visas will aim to encourage British companies to prioritise national labour. The salary level required to be allowed to enter British territory is to be determined later, after new consultations, but could be about 30,000 pounds (33,000 euros).

    The new system would be implemented in phases from 2021, after the post-Brexit transition period provided for in the deal concluded between London and Brussels, which still needs to be ratified by the British parliament.

    Immigration had been one of the issues at the heart of the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016. Following the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May had made a commitment to end the free movement of Europeans to the United Kingdom.

    The British Prime Minister was scheduled to face her last session of questions and answers for the year in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

    Opposition to the deal from both Europhiles and Eurosceptics, and on both sides of the aisle, heightens the probability of a no-deal Brexit come 29 March 2019.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times