No Preferential Status for EU Citizens after Brexit, UK Prime Minister May Says
The citizens of the EU will lose their preferential status as immigrants in the UK after Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced.
The UK government announced on Tuesday the country’s biggest immigration changes in a generation, AP and France24 report.
The new system is set to prioritize skilled immigrants to Britain over low-skilled ones, without offering EU immigrants in particular any advantages once the country leaves the European Union.
“[The new system] ends freedom of movement once and for all,” UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared, considering fulfilled a key promise of her Conservative Party on Brexit.
“For the first time in decades, it will be this country that controls and chooses who we want to come here,” she said as the proposals were announced at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
Thus, applicants seeking to settle in Britain will have to meet a salary threshold. They will be allowed to bring their families only if those are sponsored by their employer.
At the same time, the UK government confirmed that the some 3 million EU citizens already living in the EU would be allowed to remain in Britain even in the event of a hard Brexit, without a deal with the EU.
Earlier there have been indications by government officials and business that the UK could offer preferential treatment to certain groups of foreign workers as part of free trade deals.
“For too long people have felt they have been ignored on immigration and that politicians have not taken their concerns seriously enough,” UK leader May stated.
Her Conservative Party government has a longstanding goal of reducing net immigration below 100,000 people a year. So it has not even come close to meeting that, with the current level more than double.
The post-Brexit immigration plan of the UK government mentions no figures, only that immigration will be set at “sustainable” levels.
Over 1 million EU citizens have settled in Britain since eight former communist countries in Eastern Europe joined the Union in 2004.
The new immigration rules announced by the UK government also include a plan to speed up entry for short-term tourists and business visitors with a system of “e-gate visa checks” at airports.
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