UK immigration policy: Theresa May Cabinet 'agrees not to favour EU workers after Brexit'

Agence France-Presse

London: Prime Minister Theresa May's Cabinet has agreed that European Union (EU) citizens should not have preferential access to work in Britain compared to people from elsewhere after Brexit, media reports said Tuesday.

Ministers gathering on Monday "unanimously supported a system based on skills rather than nationality", an unnamed source told the BBC, with similar reports in The Times and The Guardian.

Citizens from the other 27 EU member states are currently free to live and work in Britain under the bloc's freedom of movement rules, but this will end after Brexit.

A government-commissioned report last week recommended that in future, EU and non-EU citizens follow the same immigration rules, with preference given to high-skilled workers.

The report's author, Alan Manning of the Migration Advisory Committee, briefed the cabinet meeting on Monday on his plan.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The cabinet agreed that, once free movement is brought to an end, the government will be able to introduce a new system which works in the best interests of the UK, including by helping to boost productivity."

May is now expected to make an announcement on future immigration rules at her Conservative party's conference next week, before likely introducing proposals later in 2018.

However, any post-Brexit immigration policy could be affected by Britain's future trade deals.

The EU may well seek to negotiate continued preferential treatment in return for access to its single market, while other countries could also seek visa waivers in return for trade deals.

May promised last week that even if Brexit negotiations with the EU break down, the rights of Europeans currently living in Britain "will be protected". Her spokesman said there would be formal proposals published "shortly".

Also See: Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn looks to cash in on EU's rejection of UK prime minister Theresa May's Brexit plans

Brexit: EU, UK clash over who should cede ground on deal; Austria chancellor asks for 'step forward' from Theresa May

EU may fine online platforms if they fail to remove extremist content in an hour

Read more on World by Firstpost.