Business

UK to unveil details of post-Brexit immigration system

LONDON: Britain published proposals for an EU immigration crackdown after Brexit as business groups warned the economy is not ready for Britain to crash out of the European Union without a divorce agreement in place.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said visas would be introduced for EU nationals arriving after Britain leaves the bloc and the new system would be based on skills, not nationality, putting EU and non-EU citizens on the same footing.

"It will be a system that will bring net migration down to more sustainable levels," he told BBC radio, although he said there was "no specific target" for the reduction.

He said he hoped the new measures would put more pressure on employers "to look at the domestic workforce first".

Mr Javid did not commit to an annual salary threshold for EU immigrants - a highly contested proposal - but said it could be "£30,000 ($52,000) or thereabouts".

He said the threshold could be lowered to encourage foreign students to stay and work in the UK and for certain parts of the economy in which a labour shortage could be proven.

Many employers, including the National Health Service, have warned that £30,000 is too high and will severely limit their ability to hire EU nationals in professions such as nursing.

The immigration proposals are aimed at winning over Brexit hardliners who have resisted voting in favour of the deal that Prime Minister Theresa May has struck with EU leaders.

But they will cause anger in parts of Britain, such as London, that have benefited from EU immigration.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the government's approach was "misguided" and "risks doing profound damage to growth, jobs and communities across London and the UK". - AFP

BUSINESS & FINANCE