Priti Patel, the UK Home Secretary, is due to set out the details of a points-based system that will replace freedom of movement starting from 1 January 2021, when the transition period in the wake of Britain's exit from the EU comes to an end.
The extensive 130-page document will prevent unskilled migrants from taking jobs in Britain and instead award points to applicants if they receive skilled job offers, speak English well, and meet minimum salary thresholds.
Skilled migrants from the EU and beyond the bloc will have to earn 70 points to be eligible to work in the UK, with no caps expected to be introduced on the overall number of highly competent workers.
Jobs in occupations with shortages in important sectors like the NHS and social care, designated by the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), will also give applicants a further "tradeable" 20 points. Scientists and academics rated as "global talent" as well as creative professionals like musicians and artists will make up the only groups entitled to enter the UK without a special job offer if they have the required number of points.
However, the number will be limited.
Criminals' Deportations: 'Applying UK Criminality Thresholds to Everyone'
The lion's share of the upcoming regulations pertain to dealing with criminality in the post-Brexit UK. The new measure will entitle the government to deport any foreign criminal, including from the EU, who has is to be jailed for a year or longer.
The newly-minted system will thus mean that EU citizens, including criminals, will be treated in the same way as migrants from the rest of the world, with domestic businesses encouraged to hire more British workers instead of foreigners and halt the country’s reliance on cheap foreign labour.
Apart from prolific offenders, anyone scrambling to enter Britain but deemed as "not conducive to the public good" could also be shown the door under the new criminality rules, a clause that would allow the border services to reject applications from those who raise concerns about potentially stirring up social tensions and inciting hate.
"Because of our EU membership, we have been powerless to stop criminals coming in", a source familiar with the new rules told The Telegraph. “It’s about applying UK criminality thresholds to everyone".
The rules are set to replace a 2004 EU directive, which Whitehall considers to be insufficiently strict and has been criticised for preventing the exclusion and deportation of foreign criminals.
"The security of UK citizens is our top priority. We regularly review the criminality framework rules to ensure we deliver against that priority. We have been clear that all migrants will need to comply with the UK’s strict criminality rules", a Home Office spokesman commented.
In tune with the new rules, Patel Sunday announced a new "health and care visa", entitling migrant workers to fast-track, cut-price permission to take up job offers and support to move to Britain with their families. The Home Secretary had previously said it would be an NHS visa only, raising concerns that care workers, who have been on the frontline during the pandemic, would be shut out.