How I will begin next phase to end EU’s free movement tomorrow, says PRITI PATEL

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In these uncertain times, it has never been more important for Government to deliver its promises with clarity and conviction. So tomorrow, I will stand before the House of Commons to begin the Second Reading debate on the Immigration Bill. This historic piece of legislation ends the European Union’s free movement of people and lays the foundations to build a fairer, firmer, skills-led points-based immigration system. 

For the first time in decades, the UK will have the power to determine who comes to this country. 

We know this will mean changes in the way businesses operate and recruit but by doing this now we are giving businesses time to prepare and adapt as the economic recovery gathers pace. 

The dedication shown by key workers from those in the NHS and in our supermarkets who have worked tirelessly to keep our vital services running shows us the fantastic work-ethic that already exists in this country. 

During our recovery and beyond, we want employers to focus on training and investing in a local work force rather than bringing in labour from abroad. 

The pandemic has shown us how important it can be to attract the best and brightest to our country. Talented doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are currently playing a leading role in the NHS’s efforts to fight coronavirus and save lives. 

Alongside our new immigration system, we will introduce a new fast-track NHS visa to ensure the NHS can continue to access highly skilled medical professionals from across the world.

As part of this, the visa fee will be reduced and those applying can expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks. 

We’ve also automatically extended visas for current NHS workers and their families. 

Certainty is more important than ever before. We have already guaranteed the rights of all EU citizens and their families already living in the UK, and more than 3 million have already been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

All these measures show that the UK remains an open and welcoming country. Tomorrow’s Bill is a historic step towards delivering a fairer, firmer, skills-led immigration system that works for the whole of the UK, ensuring we have the right skills that our economy needs to recover, grow, and prosper. 

Our aim is to build a better future for the United Kingdom and our people, and we will always deliver on the people’s priorities. We promised that we would take back control of our borders and restore trust in the immigration system. Our Immigration Bill will do just that.

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