Immigration will continue to play a central role in UK politics with the speech confirming that:
“An immigration bill, ending free movement, will lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system. My Government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain. The bill will include measures that reinforce this commitment.”
The Queen’s Speech 2019: background briefing notes, available here, provide further information on this new legislation – the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill.
The notes confirm that the purpose of the Bill is to:
- Bring an end to free movement in UK law, to ensure that the Government can deliver a new points-based immigration system from 2021.
- Subject EU citizens arriving after January 2021 to the same UK immigration controls as non-EU citizens in order to enable the Government to deliver a single global immigration system based on the individual’s skills.
- Clarify the immigration status of Irish citizens once the free movement migration framework is repealed, meaning that Irish citizens will generally not require leave to enter or remain in the UK.
- Enable the Government to deliver future changes to social security co-ordination policy.
The main benefits of the Bill are described as follows:
- Paving the way for a new points-based immigration system based on skills and contributions to the UK, to enable the UK to attract the brightest and best from the whole world following the UK’s departure from the EU.
- Confirming the Government’s commitment to the EU Settlement Scheme and giving a right of appeal against decisions under the Scheme to EU citizens and their family members who apply.
- Ensuring that the Government can set new rules on access to benefits and social security co-ordination that are in the national interest.
It remains unclear if the Government’s plans for a new points-based system for certain immigration categories are in addition to, or instead of, the plans set out under Theresa May’s premiership in the immigration white paper. We will continue to monitor developments closely and update our website as further information is released.