I am pleased to confirm the Government have today launched a number of immigration routes under the new UK points-based system, including the skilled worker route. This is a significant milestone and delivers on this Government’s commitment to take back control of our borders by ending freedom of movement with the EU and replacing it with a global points-based system.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020, which received Royal Assent on 11 November, ends free movement on 31 December 2020 and paves the way for our new points-based system that treats EU and non-EU nationals equally.
Applicants for the new routes can now start to apply under the points-based system. EEA nationals who arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 remain eligible for the EU settlement scheme. Over 4.2 million have already applied and others have until 30 June 2021 to do so.
The points-based system will work in the interests of the whole of our United Kingdom and prioritise the skills a person has to offer, not where their passport comes from. It will ensure we attract the brightest and best talent we need to contribute to our economy, our communities and our public services. It also forms a critical part of this country’s economic recovery by ensuring investment in the UK domestic workforce and helping us to create a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy is the focus of employer’s recruitment activities.
Today’s launch builds on the successful opening of the reformed global talent route in February, the health and care visa in August and the student and child student routes in October. In addition, as the Chancellor set out in the spending review last week, we are supporting the delivery of the new borders and immigration system with an additional £217 million of funding.
Ending free movement and introducing the points-based system is the first phase of our plans to transform the operation of our borders and immigration system. Additional routes will be opened in the coming months and our longer-term plans will further simplify, enable and digitise our systems to put customers at the heart of a firmer, fairer and easier to navigate borders and immigration system.