LONDON — Boris Johnsons post-Brexit immigration plan is still “being developed” but he insisted today that freedom of movement “will end” on October 31.
At a regular briefing for journalists, a spokeswoman for the prime minister said “tougher criminality rules” for people entering the U.K. would be immediately introduced, as one example of how the U.K.s immigration policy would shift from day one after Brexit.
Johnsons predecessor Theresa May had been planning a “transition” period until the end of 2020 during which the U.K. would continue to have the same obligations as an EU country, under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU27. That deal was voted down by parliament and Johnson has called for it to be reopened.
The new prime ministers tough stance has big implications for a host of industries reliant on workers from abroad such as the farming sector and the National Health Service, and would require immediate changes to immigration checks at airports and ports.
The spokeswoman said the governments settled status scheme, which Mays government set up to guarantee that EU nationals living in the U.K. before the end of 2020 are able to remain in the U.K. indefinitely, would continue as it had previously been announced.
The Home Office said today that, while EU citizens will have until December 2020 to apply for settled status, it will only be EU citizens living in the U.K. before 11 p.m. on October 31 that will be eligible.
“Freedom of movement as it currently stands will end on October 31 when the U.K. leaves the EU. For example we will introduce immediately much tougher criminality rules for people entering the U.K. Details of other changes immediately on October 31 for a new immigration system are currently being developed and we will set out further plans on that front shortly,” the spokeswoman said.
“The prime minister has obviously been clear he wants to introduce an Australian-style points base immigration system,” the spokeswoman added. Australian visas are allocated in line with criteria including age, qualifications and English language ability.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has sent officials to Singapore to “understand how a well-functioning immigration IT system is developed. Specifically, ensuring we can count people in and out the country,”