Priti Patel has told talkRADIO the UK government will be in control of its borders “for the first time in decades” when it introduces its new points-based immigration system.
The policy, set to come into force on January 1 2021, will end visas for low-skilled migrant workers after Britain fully leaves the European Union following this year's transition period.
The Home Secretary said the new system will end free movement and “do what it says on the tin”.
“It’s going to prioritise the skills that our economy and our country needs, bringing in the brightest and the best from around the world to support the needs of the UK economy and, importantly, this system will mark the end of the overreliance on low-skilled workers and we will bring overall migration numbers down,” she told Mike Graham.
Under the plans, both EU and non-EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK will need 70 points to be eligible to apply for a visa.
Having a job offer from an approved employer is worth 20 points and having the “required skill level” is worth another 20.
Speaking English to a certain level will gain them 10 points.
To reach the required 70, applicants could be awarded extra points for qualifications or if there is a shortage of workers in particular field.
The salary threshold for skilled migrants will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600 for those coming to the UK with a job offer.
However, industry leaders have warned that the new rules could "spell absolute disaster" for the care system and risk farmers, builders and hospitality businesses being hit the hardest.
They criticised the lack of provision for low-paid workers in the proposals and lawyers urged the government “not to turn the tap off overnight” if companies struggle to recruit staff under the new system.
The government has said employers “will needs to adjust” to the “firm and fair” system.
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