Immigration Act receives Royal Assent: free movement to end on 31 December 2020
The Immigration Act yesterday (Wednesday 11 November 2020) received Royal Assent and was signed into law.
This means free movement will end around seven weeks from now, at 11pm on 31 December 2020.
It delivers on the government’s manifesto commitment to restore faith in the immigration system.
For the first time in a generation, the UK will be able to decide who comes into the country, based on the skills they have to offer - not where they are from.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday said:
Today marks the delivery of our promise to the British people to regain control of our borders and consider new arrivals on the basis of the skills they have to offer and the contribution they can make, not where they come from.
The passing of this landmark Bill means that for the first time in decades we will have a firm and fair immigration system that will support our economy and see us build back better.
Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday said:
This time last year the government promised to end free movement, take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system.
Today we have officially delivered on that promise.
The Act of Parliament which ends free movement has completed its journey through Parliament and today achieved Royal Assent.
This is an historic day in our new direction outside of the EU – controlling our own borders and delivering on the people’s priorities.
The points-based immigration system will encourage employers to focus on training and investing in the UK work force, driving productivity and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by coronavirus.
Those wanting to come into the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance. They will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, if they speak English, and for meeting the appropriate salary threshold. Visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.
A marketing campaign is underway to make sure businesses are ready for the changes.
The government is also introducing special schemes to enable more scientists, academics, investors, entrepreneurs, and health and care workers to come to the UK easily.
Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK before 31 December 2020, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
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