December 19, 2018 / 4:14 PM / 4 months ago

Factbox: Britain's post-Brexit immigration plans

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government set out its biggest overhaul of immigration in decades on Wednesday, publishing a long-awaited policy paper on how it intends to approach the issue after it exits the European Union.

FILE PHOTO: A British government Home Office van is seen parked in west London, Britain, in this photograph taken on May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Below are key measures in the document:


- the new system will apply to EU and non-EU citizens

- it will prioritize skilled migrants

- it will come into force after Britain’s planned post-Brexit implementation period, due to end in December 2020

- there is no target, but a pledge to reduce annual net migration to “sustainable levels”

- Britain will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation system similar to the United State’s ESTA scheme

- Irish nationals will not need visas

- EU citizens will not need visas for tourist visits up to six months


- no cap on numbers

- workers will need an employer to sponsor them

- they will be allowed to bring dependents, extend their stay and in some cases settle permanently

- employers will no longer be required to carry out a resident labor market test

- this visa will be subject to a minimum salary threshold, to be set in consultation with businesses over the next year

- where there are specific skills shortages, the minimum salary threshold may be lowered

- the government will aim to process most work visas within three weeks


- transitional measure, which will be reviewed by 2025

- open to workers of any skill level from “low risk” countries, including the EU

- limited to 12 months, followed by a further 12-month “cooling off” period to continuous work

- these workers will not be allowed to bring dependents or access public funds

- they will not be entitled to extend their stay or seek permanent settlement

- do not have to be sponsored by an employer or have a job offer


- no plans for such schemes, with the possible exception of seasonal agricultural workers

- a small-scale pilot scheme for agricultural workers will be run in 2019


- no limit on numbers of international students

- will be allowed to stay in Britain for a fixed period after they have finished studying in order to find work: six months for undergraduate and masters students and a year for PhD students


- will need to apply for settled status

- need to have been living in the UK continuously for five years to be eligible

- those who arrive before the end of the implementation period but have not been in Britain for five years can apply for pre-settled status so they can stay until they have accumulated five years

- the settlement scheme will be open until six months after the end of the implementation period

Compiled by Kylie MacLellan; editing by John Stonestreet

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