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MPs Set to Vote on Bill to End EU Free Movement

MPs Set to Vote on Bill to End EU Free Movement

MPs are due to vote on the bill to end EU free movement. The bill was originally put to parliament in December of 2018 by Theresa May’s minority government.

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MPs Set to Vote on Bill to End EU Free Movement

MPs are due to vote on the bill to end EU free movement. The bill was originally put to parliament in December of 2018 by Theresa May’s minority government. 

MPs are due to vote on the government’s plan to repeal EU freedom of movement, as the UK moves towards a new form of a points-based system.

The government has said that the proposed new points-based system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and will attract “high skilled” people to the UK who can contribute to the UK economy.

Firmer, Fairer and Simpler?

The legislation, the Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) bill will be debated in the House of Commons today and will make its way through the standard parliamentary process.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the new proposals as “firmer, fairer and simpler” and said that the new point-based system will give the UK “full control of our immigration system for the first time in decades and the power to determine who comes to this country.”

The bill was previously introduced to the Commons during Theresa’s May premiership, back in December of 2018. However, the bill stalled as May’s minority administration lacked the numbers to win the votes.

Bill Reintroduced

As Boris Johnson brings back the bill with an 80-seat majority, he has faced pressure to support those dubbed as “key workers”.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the key contribution which many migrants in the UK make, including in jobs which may not be typically thought of as skilled. This includes health care assistants working in care homes and hospitals, and those involved in food production and distribution.

As Boris Johnson brings back the bill with an 80-seat majority, he has faced pressure to support those dubbed as “key workers”.

The attempt to get the bill through parliament has come at a time when the UK public’s perception towards immigration is reportedly shifting. In fact, a YouGov poll suggested that 54% of Britons would support easing immigration restrictions for workers who were defined as essential during the coronavirus.

New System

The new system will award points within different areas. For example, those with a job offer from an approved employer which meets a salary threshold of £25,600 will receive points. Those who are filling roles in occupations where there are skill shortages will be awarded points too.

Points will also be awarded for certain qualifications, and those who can prove that they speak English to a certain level will be awarded points.

Satbir Singh, the Chief Executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has called for changes in the proposed new system.

“The fight against COVID-19 has shown us all just how much our survival and wellbeing depends on our key workers.

“So many of them have come from other countries and help keep this one running.

“Bus drivers and lorry drivers, care workers and shop workers, nurses and cleaners – they are not ‘unskilled’ or unwelcome, they are the backbone of our country and they deserve the security of knowing that this place can be their home too.”

In March, Priti Patel announced visa extensions for NHS and front-line health workers which sparked hope among healthcare and immigration campaigners that government immigration policies could be reevaluated.

Patel Criticism

However, seemingly, immigration policy will not be seriously reconsidered. Indeed, Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds spoke of his dismay at the government’s approach towards NHS migrant workers.

He said:

“It is rank hypocrisy towards our NHS and care workers – over 180,000 in England and Wales alone – to stand and clap for them on a Thursday night, and then tell them that they are not welcome in the UK on a Monday.”

However, Patel announced in the last couple of days that the immigration health surcharge will not be axed, and will increase from £400 to £624 from this October. It will also be extended to all EU citizens from January.

Patel’s conduct during the coronavirus pandemic has been questioned by many. It was revealed last month that Patel had turned down four invitations to appear in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss the coronavirus outbreak.

A “review” into the controversial immigration health surcharge was initiated three weeks ago. However, Patel announced in the last couple of days that the immigration health surcharge will not be axed, and will increase from £400 to £624 from this October. It will also be extended to all EU citizens from January.

Thomas-Symonds put it bluntly:

“The Home Secretary has been invisible throughout this crisis – and now her first major intervention is a bill that will make workers in the NHS and the care sector feel unwelcome in this country, as well as labelling retail workers, carers, local government workers, refuse collectors, and many more as ‘low skilled’ – the very same workers who have been keeping this country running throughout the crisis.”

Our immigration lawyers can assist you by:

  • Advising you on the EU Settlement Scheme and assessing your eligibility to sponsor family members
  • Assisting you with applications under the Appendix EU so that you are able to sponsor non-EEA family members who want to gain status under the EU Settlement Scheme in the UK
  • Assessing how the bill to end EU free movement could affect you

Our lawyers are experienced in all areas of EU, nationality, and family immigration law. An IAS lawyer will leave no stone unturned when it comes to working on your case and ensuring you the best possible chances of success.

Call us now on 0333 305 9375 to find out more about how the bill to end EU free movement could affect you and your family’s future, or to arrange your first session with one of our expert lawyers.

 

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