PRITI PATEL tonight conceded unlimited EU immigration will all-but remain in place until 2021 in a No Deal.
Despite promising tougher criminal checks on migrants from October 31, the Home Office said EU citizens would be allowed unfettered access to the UK until at least the end of 2020.
This would “give businesses certainty” that they will be able to recruit and retain staff after Brexit.
The move – snuck out before a knife-edge vote on an Election – came just weeks after the Home Secretary insisted free movement would be scrapped the moment the UK leaves the EU.
Ms Patel insisted the tougher checks on criminal records meant she was “ending free movement as it currently stands”. The ‘blue’ EU customs channel will also go at airports and ports.
But immigration expert Jonathan Portes accused the Government of making a “360 degree U-turn”.
He told The Sun: “Free movement will continue more or less as now. The criminality stuff appears to be window dressing for the climb down.”
Under the ‘interim measures’ released by the Home Office, EU nationals will be able to apply for “temporary leave to remain” in Brexit Britain after October 31 and up to the end of 2020.
NEW POINTS SYSTEM
The Home Office said it hopes to introduce a new Aussie-style points based system from the beginning of 2021.
Instead of EU criminal record tests, the Home Office will apply UK tests which set a “tougher” threshold.
Insiders conceded it was almost identical to the temporary measures proposed by former Home Secretary Sajid Javid under ex-PM Theresa May.
Earlier Ms Patel said English speaking migrants may be able to jump the queue into Brexit Britain under her plans for a points-based system.
The Home Secretary has asked the Government-backed Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to study ways migrants with certain “characteristics” could be fast-tracked into the UK under an Aussie-style points based immigration plan.
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She said that educational qualifications, language proficiency, work experience could enable migrants to come in on jobs that don’t meet salary thresholds set for certain occupations.
Under the idea, they would earn extra “points” which allows them to come into the country.
The MAC was asked to report back by January 2020.
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