BORIS Johnson’s flagship post-Brexit immigration plans passed their first hurdle as MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new points-based system.
The Immigration Bill passed its crucial second reading in the Commons last night despite Labour MPs voting against the legislation, which will end EU freedom of movement rules on December 31 this year.
The legislation paves the way for the new immigration system to be introduced in January 2021.
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds claimed the legislation was “a threat to our national interest” because it would make it harder to fill NHS roles in the future.
But Home Office officials said the new rules would actually make it easier and quicker for medical professionals around the world to work in the health service through a new fast-track NHS visa.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was a “firmer, fairer and simpler” system.
But the MigrationWatchUK think think tank warned that the immigration proposals could even drive numbers up.
It warned that instead of getting immigration under control, the points-based system would create “all sorts of new avenues to be opened”.
And it said that while the coronavirus crisis is likely to trigger mass unemployment, the immigration proposals will provide fierce competition from foreign workers for the jobs that are available.
MigrationWatch UK boss Alp Mehmet warned: ”The government seem to be sticking to immigration proposals that have been overtaken by the Covid-19 crisis. As their own impact assessment suggests, the proposed system may well drive an increase in immigration.
“This is absolutely not the time to be opening six million jobs to new or increased international competition. And it is simply wrong that jobs should no longer have to be advertised in the UK before being opened up to recruits from around the globe.”
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