Brexit: The End of Free Movement is Final
The United Kingdom passed an Immigration Bill through Parliament that will end free movement from December 31 onwards.
This means free movement will end around seven weeks from now, at 11pm on 31 December 2020. The bill gives the U.K. the power to determine who comes to the country for the first time in decades.
The new migration policy brings an end to free movement in the middle of an economic crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill has come under huge criticism. The act of pursuing a new migration policy and ending free movement in the middle of a health and economic crisis is being described as “jaw-droppingly stupid” by one politician.
New Immigration Bill
The Immigration Bill, which received Royal Assent on Wednesday, ends freedom of movement on 31 December and replaces it with a new points-based system.
The Home Office said the Immigration Bill, which also met significant resistancein the Lords during its passage, would “restore faith” in the immigration system.
From 1 January, those seeking work in the UK will need to apply for permission in advance.
Visas will be given to those with sufficient points, based on their skill levels, English language abilities and whether their salary meets a required threshold.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said getting the bill onto the statute book was “a historic day in our new direction outside of the EU – controlling our own borders and delivering on the people’s priorities”.
The government has launched a scheme to make it quicker for scientists, academics, investors, entrepreneurs and health and care workers to come to the UK.
But unions are warning the UK is facing a crisis now, with foreign-born NHS workers vital to the UK’s COVID fight leaving the country because their visas are expiring or due to delays and costs involved in renewing them.
EU and Irish Citizens
EU citizens can still visit the UK for Up to 6 months without a visa & Irish citizens maintain their special status.
However, the use of EEA national identity cards only will be banned from entry. A valid passport is needed to enter the territory.
EU citizens residing in the UK can still apply to settle in the country through the EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.
Irish citizens have had a unique status in place since the 1920s.
The UK government will continue to guarantee the rights of EEA citizens and their family members who are resident in the United Kingdom by the end of the transition period, 31 December 2020.
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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