This Bill looks to tackle the issues posed by Brexit relating to immigration and social security. The Bill will mark the end of EU free movement laws in UK law, and will ensure that EU nationals arriving in the UK from 2021 onwards will be subject to the same immigration laws as non-EU nationals. The Bill also includes provisions to ensure the right to remain of European citizens already resident in the UK, and will clarify the status of Irish citizens, ensuring that they are able to continue working and living in the UK as present.
Plans to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system from 2021 (presumably to replace the existing Points-Based System) have also been proposed. Based on skills and contributions to the UK, the new system will score migrants on a range of criteria, so that the UK can attract the "brightest and best" people from around the world. The three broad categories are listed below.
There is currently no reference to student migration, other than a repetition of the government's plan to reintroduce a graduate work visa in 2021. Based on the similarities between current and planned changes, student migration seems likely to continue in much the same vein as the existing Tier 4 arrangements and will also apply to EEA pupils arriving in the UK from January 2021 onwards. Schools may wish to review their current compliance with the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance (our free Tier 4 compliance questionnaire might be a good starting point). Another consideration for schools will be whether additional resource will be required to deal with the increased number of Tier 4 sponsored pupils.
It remains to be seen whether this government will honour the promise in the immigration white paper published by Theresa May's government to "consider ways in which we can streamline sponsorship and make it more 'light-touch'."
These announcements bear great similarities to the existing immigration system, which will surely be of comfort to many. Nevertheless, there will no doubt be some changes, so schools will need to pay close attention to any future announcements.