The Conservatives plan to crack down on low-skilled workers and favour ‘award-winning’ migrants after Brexit with a new points-based immigration system.
Detailing their plans for a new structure when Britain leaves the European Union, Tories said they would place candidates in an Australian-inspired system to control numbers.
Highly-educated migrants who have received world-leading awards or demonstrated exceptional talent will be allowed to move to the UK without a job offer.
They would receive fast-track entry and there would be no limit on numbers.
Skilled workers – including doctors, nurses and other health professionals – who have a confirmed job offer would be placed in a second category.
Those eligible for the NHS visa would also be given fast-track entry, as well as reduced fees.
However, low or unskilled workers would face sector-specific rules-based schemes in order to meet labour market shortages.
Speaking on Ridge on Sunday, Boris Johnson said he was a ‘believer in allowing people to come to this country’ if they can contribute.
However, he seemed to take a swipe at EU citizens who have been able to ‘treat the UK as though it’s basically part of their own country’.
He said: ‘You’ve seen quite a large number of people coming in from the whole of the EU, 580 million population, able to treat the UK as though it’s basically part of their own country and the problem with that is there has been no control at all and I don’t think that is democratically accountable.
‘You have got to have a system by which politicians can say to people, well yes we are letting people in but we are doing it in a way that is controlled and checked.’
Under Tory plans, a digital immigration status will be introduced for all migrants after 2022, allowing for improved enforcement.
This would also make it easier for people to prove their status, the party claims.
Following Brexit, all visas would be time-limited and in-country switching would be allowed.
All migrants wanting to come to the UK would be asked to pay a health surcharge for every year of their visa unless they are granted settled status.
An annual report would be produced by The Migrations Advisory Committee advising on how to lower immigration overall, meet the needs of the UK economy and improve productivity.
The Conservatives have said they would immediately set up a formal exchange programme with the Australian and Canadian governments in order to share best practice during the development of the system.
They have also promised to appoint an expert implementation group to ensure the rollout of the new program.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the party would create a ‘fairer system’ that would attract the ‘brightest and the best from around the world’ while pushing immigration down.
She said: ‘The vote to leave the EU was a vote to take back control of our borders, and that is exactly what a Conservative majority government will do by getting Brexit done and ending freedom of movement.’