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Downing Street hints it will drop post-Brexit migrant salary threshold

Boris Johnson is poised to DROP £30,000 salary threshold for migrants after Brexit as the government insists new immigration system will be rolled out in full by January 2021

  • Theresa May wanted to impose the post-Brexit earnings threshold on migrants
  • Boris Johnson’s new government has hinted it will ditch controversial proposal
  • No10 also suggested post-Brexit border changes will be ready in January 2021 

Downing Street today gave a strong hint a government plan to impose a minimum earnings threshold on migrants who want to come to the UK after Brexit will be dropped. 

A proposal to require migrants to earn at least £30,000 if they want to work in Britain was a flagship proposal of the Theresa May government. 

But Number 10 has suggested the policy will be scrapped because it would not fit with Boris Johnson’s plans to introduce an Australian-style immigration system after the UK has left the EU. 

Meanwhile, Downing Street also suggested the old government’s proposal of phasing in the border control changes next year will be ditched, with the replacement system due to be rolled out in full in January 2021. 

Mr Johnson set out his ‘key guiding principles’ which will underpin the new immigration system at a meeting of his Cabinet this morning. 

He gave a cast iron commitment that unskilled immigration would be reduced under the new system while the overall number of people moving to the UK would also be cut. 

Boris Johnson, pictured in Downing Street today, has given a cast iron assurance that low-skilled migration to the UK will be reduced after Brexit

Sajid Javid ordered a review of Mrs May’s planned earnings threshold last June in an initial sign that it could be dropped. 

The then home secretary ordered the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent body which advises the government, to examine whether the policy would be workable. 

Concerns have been expressed that the £30,000 figure would mean workers in important and skilled, but not particularly well-paid professions, being unable to come to the UK. 

The MAC is due to publish its report on the issue shortly, while a major government-ordered review of the UK’s overall migration needs is expected to be released next week. 

The findings of that review will then help inform the government’s new immigration system. 

Asked whether the £30,000 threshold was discussed during today’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘It wasn’t. That is something we asked MAC to do a separate piece of work on and I would expect that to be published shortly as well.

‘I think it is worth pointing out that that obviously reflects the immigration system set out by the former government.

‘The Prime Minister is looking at an Australian-style points-based system which is something slightly different.’

The Australian-style system would see people scored on their skills and what they could contribute to the economy, rather than on their earnings potential. 

The spokesman said Mr Johnson had told the Cabinet that the ‘public have been clear that they want us to end freedom of movement and take back control of our borders and it is our duty to deliver on this promise’. 

‘The PM said that the key guiding principles of the new system would be taking back control, unleashing global talent and attracting the brightest and the best, and reducing unskilled immigration,’ the spokesman added. 

Pushed on whether the new system would also result in a reduction in overall immigration, the spokesman said: ‘I think the government’s manifesto set out that there will be fewer low-skilled migrants and overall numbers will come down.’

Theresa May

Sajid Javid

Theresa May’s proposal to impose a £30,000 earnings threshold on migrants after Brexit was controversial and was opposed by Sajid Javid who ordered a review of the issue last year 

EU freedom of movement rules will continue to apply to the UK during the Brexit transition period when the two sides will try to hammer out the terms of a future partnership. 

The transition period will end in December this year and Mrs May’s government had suggested that a new immigration system would be phased in at the start of 2021. 

But Downing Street today suggested the new system would be rolled out in full on January 1. 

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘The new system will come into force on the 1st of January next year.’

He added: ‘You will have to wait until we set out the details in the immigration bill but the new system will come into force in January next year, and again, I think you’re passing reference to what was in the system proposed by the previous government and not by this one.’ 


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