Sajid Javid is expected to publish plans to end free movement and preferential access for EU migrants after December 2020 – which will see net immigration from Europe reduced to as little as 10,000 a year, according to the The Sunday Times.
Official figures published last month revealed EU net migration has hit a six-year low at 74,000 in the year to June 2018 – 60 per cent lower than in June 2016 and the lowest level since 2012.
The government’s immigration white paper, expected to be published next week, will reportedly state this figure will be slashed further, to between 10,000 and 25,000 long-term migrants each year by 2025.
A source told the newspaper: “We are going to take full control over who can come to the UK, prioritising those with the skills the UK needs rather than on the basis of which country they come from.”
It is expected to lead to a cut in the number of highly skilled EU migrants from 15,000 last year to about 11,000, while those who are “medium skilled” will be slashed from 18,500 to around 4,500. Most of the 40,000 EU citizens with low skills are expected not to come at all.
Medium-skilled migrants will only be allowed in if they have a job paying at least £30,000 a year, while low-skilled workers will get short-term visas of up to a year if they are from a country that is a “low risk of immigration abuse”, according to the newspaper.
The reports will fuel concerns about the impact of Brexit on the economy after a study commissioned by the government found EU workers pay far more to the public purse than British-born residents – at £2,300 more in net terms than the average adult.
It found that over their lifetimes, migrants from the EU pay in £78,000 more than they take out in public services and benefits – while the average UK citizen’s net lifetime contribution is zero.
The reports will also stoke fears about gaps in the workforce in sectors that rely largely on EU workers, such as social care nursing and the hospitality industry.
Mr Javid is also set to distance himself from Theresa May’s “hostile environment” towards migrants and pledge to launch a “new conversation” on immigration with a “fair and transparent compliant environment” that helps protect legitimate migrants while cracking down on illegals.
The white paper is also expected to outline that EU nationals will no longer be able to travel to the UK using a national identity card but will have to use a passport.
Rather than a visa, they will be allowed to obtain an online Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), while Britons travelling to the EU will have to pay for an ETA costing £6.
The report comes after MPs expressed outrage that they would not view the government’s immigration plans before the meaningful vote on 11 December, which was subsequently postponed.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked documents. We plan to publish a white paper on the future borders and immigration system soon.”
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