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UK said to prepare migration policy favouring high earners

Dec 18 2018 06:15
Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson, Bloomberg
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the European Council to meet with its President Donald Tusk the day before a summit of the European Council on Brexit on November 24 in Brussels. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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Theresa May’s government is on the point of agreeing its post-Brexit immigration policy, after months of internal arguments over which applicants should be favored to enter the UK.

Under the proposals, preference will be given to higher earners and people from favoured nations. These are likely to be the countries whose citizens are currently allowed to use e-passports to enter Britain: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the US. Javid has talked in the past about adding countries to that list if they agree trade deals with the UK.

Some government departments are asking for tweaks to the plans. Sectors such as agriculture and hospitality rely on low-skilled labour forces. Meanwhile the Treasury has pointed out that tech entrepreneurs often have low salaries which might not pass the Home Office’s threshold, and has asked for stock options to be taken into account.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid first set out his proposals to Cabinet colleagues in September, with the goal of making them public shortly after that. After repeated delays, Javid and May have now agreed the policy, and it could be announced as early as Wednesday, according to to two people familiar with the discussions, who asked not to be named.

May interpreted the 2016 vote to leave the European Union as a call for an end to unrestricted immigration from EU countries. She has also long been a supporter of the Tory policy of reducing net migration to below 100 000 a year.

theresa may  |  uk  |  eu  |  uk economy  |  brexit
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