It is just six months since the British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a points-based system to control immigration that will deliver for the whole UK for years to come.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020 delivers on that vote by ending the free movement of people and laying the foundation for a firmer, fairer, skills-led immigration system, which will be delivered through changes to the immigration rules.
What does the Bill do?
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020, or the Immigration Bill, was introduced to Parliament on 5 March 2020
The Bill puts an end to the EU’s rules on free movement and will make citizens from the EU, the EEA EFTA states of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and their family members, subject to UK immigration controls. This reaffirms the Government’s commitment to delivering a fairer and skills led immigration system, attracting people based on the skills they have, not where they come from.
The new points-based system is a vital part of the Government’s wider plan to rebuild the economy and drive the whole country forward. Details of the future points-based immigration system are set out in the Government’s policy statement on the UK’s points-based immigration system, published on 19 February 2020.
The Bill creates a power to remove references, for example to free movement, in UK legislation which will no longer make sense once free movement has ended.
Why introduce it now?
It is almost four years since the British people voted to leave the European Union. This Government has taken the United Kingdom out of the EU, and we have been clear that we will have negotiated a new relationship with the EU by the end of this year.
There will be no extension to the Transition Period and therefore free movement will end in line with that.
We know the ending of free movement and the introduction of a points-based immigration system will mean changes for businesses. That is why we are providing certainty on the new system now, and are continuing to engage and work extensively with employers to understand their needs and encourage them to attract the best home grown talent.
What about Irish citizens?
The Bill protects the status of Irish citizens in the UK once free movement rights end. This means Irish citizens will continue to be free to enter and remain in the UK without restriction. As now, there are some limited exceptions to this where they are subject to a deportation order, exclusion decision or international travel ban.
The Bill does not affect the operation of the Common Travel Area.
What about social security?
The UK Government is ready to work with the EU to establish practical, reciprocal provisions on social security coordination under the future relationship.
The Bill allows the UK Government and, where appropriate, the relevant devolved authority to make changes to the current rules on access to benefits and on social security co-ordination to enable it to deliver on the outcome of the negotiations.