White Paper on immigration published


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The government has published its long-awaited White Paper on immigration. It accepts a number of the recommendations set out in the independent Migration Advisory Committee repost published in September.

The White Paper contains the following measures:

  • EU citizens will be treated the same as those arriving from outside the EU
  • The cap of 20,700 per year on the number of new highly skilled migrant hires from outside the EU who are paid less than £159,000 will be abolished
  • There will be a consultation on a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas
  • Low-skilled workers may be able to apply for short-term visas of up to a year
  • There are plans to phase in the new system from 2021

The government has also published a policy paper which on EU citizens' rights in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This guarantees to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019, even if the UK leaves without a deal.

In a no-deal scenario the UK will continue to run the EU Settlement Scheme but only for those EU nationals and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019, not 31 December 2020, as there would be no agreed implementation period. EU citizens would then have until 31 December 2020 to apply for status under the scheme. Up until then they could rely on their passport or national ID card to evidence their right to reside in the UK. The UK would continue to honour the right of those who obtain settled status under the scheme to be able to leave the UK for up to five years without losing their right to return.

EU citizens could be joined in the UK by existing close family members who were living overseas on 29 March 2019, but only up to 29 March 2022. The paper also calls on the EU and Member States to offer protection for the rights of UK nationals living in the EU in the event of a no-deal scenario.

This article is taken from HR Law - January 2019.

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