Boris Johnson insisted he would cut immigration into the UK today as he unveiled plans to clampdown on low-skilled migrants moving to the UK.
The Prime Minister lashed out at EU citizens who ‘treat the UK as though it’s basically part of their own country’ as he talked up Tory plans for a migration system based on that of Australia.
The Conservatives have announced that they would allocate points on a range of different criteria which effectively put people into three categories under a system Home Secretary Priti Patel said would bring ‘overall immigration down’.
Speaking on Ridge on Sunday on Sky today Mr Johnson 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.
Asked if he could ‘guarantee that numbers will come down’ he added: Yes, I can make sure that numbers will come down because we’ll be able to control the system in that way and what I don’t think is right is to have an uncontrolled and unlimited approach to that.’
The first category in the proposed plan, ‘fast-track entry’, will be given to entrepreneurs, investors and those who have received awards in a qualifying field and have been endorsed as a recognised or emerging leader.
There would be no cap on numbers for people entering at this level.
The second category encompasses skilled workers – such as doctors, nurses and other health professionals – who have a confirmed job offer.
Those eligible for the NHS visa will receive fast-track entry and reduced fees.
The third category involves sector-specific rules-based schemes which would apply for low or unskilled workers to meet labour market shortages, such as for seasonal agricultural workers.
A digital immigration status will be introduced for all migrants beyond 2022 which would allow for improved enforcement and make it easier for migrants to prove their status.
All visas would be time-limited, in-country switching would be allowed and all migrants would have to pay a health surcharge for every year of their visa unless they gain settled status.
Priti Patel said the Tories would create a ‘fairer system’ which would attract the ‘brightest and the best from around the world’ while getting 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.
‘Immigration will finally be subject to democratic control. We will be able to create a fairer system, which will attract the brightest and the best from around the world to come here and contribute to our society and economy, while getting overall immigration down.