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UK’s post-Brexit points-based immigration system goes live, but critics say the toll is now on businesses

UK’s post-Brexit points-based immigration system goes live, but critics say the toll is now on businesses
Government ministers have promised that the new points-based immigration system will be “simple, effective and flexible,” as it opens to applicants ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.

As the UK’s points-based immigration scheme opens to applicants ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period, government ministers have promised the new system will be “simple, effective and flexible.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel praised the launch as fulfilling the government’s promise to end free movement and take back control of the UK’s borders. “This simple, effective and flexible system will ensure employers can recruit the skilled workers they need,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

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All foreign nationals, including those from the EU, will be required to apply under the new system if they wish to work in the UK from January 1. Anyone seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer, to be earning at least £25,600 and be proficient in English.

EU citizens and their families who are living in the UK before December 31 will be eligible to avoid the new system and apply to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme, as long as they register before June 30, 2021.

The system’s opening was paired with the announcement that the government will set up a new Border Operations Centre that will ensure goods and passengers are screened around the clock when they come into the UK through British points of entry in order to minimise potential disruption after January 1.

The government’s new scheme has faced criticism from the opposing Labour Party, with Shadow Minister Rachel Reeves accusing it of “putting the burden on businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period”, without explaining to companies what they need to be getting ready for.

The system has gone live as Brexit negotiations continue in London. The UK is preparing for its departure from the Single Market and Customs Union as the stalemate between the two sides over a future trade deal continues due to differences over the issue of fisheries.

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