We are not ‘slamming the gates’ in points-based immigration system, Boris Johnson says

We are not ‘slamming the gates’ in points-based immigration system, Boris Johnson says

  • July 13, 2020
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Priti Patel has just revealed the details of the immigration system - Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street
Priti Patel has just revealed the details of the immigration system – Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

The UK’s new points-based immigration is not about “slamming the gates” shut, Boris Johnson has said, promising there will be enough recruits for the social care sector. 

Speaking as the Government unveiled the details of the country’s post-Brexit system, the Prime Minister said the UK will have a “humane and sensible” immigration system despite “taking back control” after Brexit.

Asked if he thinks there will be enough people coming in to work in the social care system, the Prime Minister told reporters: “I do… We’re seeing huge numbers of people registering for their right to remain and that’s great so we have a big, big stock of workers who are helping out in this country who have come from abroad.”

Mr Johnson added: “Although of course we are going to be taking back control and we are controlling our immigration system we’re not going to be simply slamming the gates and stopping anybody anywhere coming into this country.

The tweaked points-based system will see eligible frontline social care staff included alongside health workers in the NHS visa, which gives fast-track entry to the UK with reduced application fees under the UK’s new points-based system, the Home Secretary has confirmed. 

In a written ministerial statement, Priti Patel said:  “We will be introducing a new-fast track health and care visa. This will make it easier and quicker for talented global health professionals to work in our brilliant NHS and in eligible occupations in the social care sector.

Read more below.

11:35 AM

Labour demands clarity over Government’s face mask position

Labour has asked the Government for urgent clarity on over whether face masks should be mandatory after “conflicting statements” from ministers. 

On Friday Boris Johnson hinted that a rule change was in the pipeline, suggesting it was time for “stricter” measures – something he has reiterated today. However yesterday Michael Gove said they should not be made mandatory. 

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, has written to Matt Hancock, asking which is the Government’s official position. 

He wrote: “Conflicting advice and conflicting statements from the Government only hinder our fight against the virus. Clear communication is vital in combatting the spread of Covid-19.

“For the public to know that they are doing the right thing in shops, restaurants and other crowded places, I am asking that you urgently set out the position on face coverings.

“As lockdown rules are further relaxed this week, it is vital that updated guidance on this issue is published by the Government without delay.”

11:29 AM

Lobby latest: Not all social care workers will qualify for NHS visa

Downing Street has said that not all social care workers would not be able to take advantage of the new NHS visa.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We want employers to invest more in training and development for care workers in this country.

“On care workers specifically, our independent migration advisers have said that immigration is not the sole answer here, which is why we have provided councils with an additional £1.5 billion of funding for social care in 2021/22, as well as launching a new recruitment campaign.”

Existing European Union workers in the care sector could apply to stay in the UK through the settlement scheme “and a very large number have done so”, the spokesman said.

“Those people will remain in the UK providing really important care to the elderly and the vulnerable.”

11:25 AM

Prime Minister encourages people to take staycation this year

Boris Johnson has said he will take a “staycation” this year, and encouraged people to holiday at home.

“I think this is a great, great year for people to have a staycation. This country is uniquely blessed with fantastic places to holiday, whether coastal or otherwise,” the Prime Minister told reporters during a visit to the London Ambulance Service.

“And I am certainly going to be doing that, but I won’t necessarily tell you where at this stage.

“Obviously if people feel the need for a foreign holiday then that’s completely a matter for them, I totally understand it, but there are fantastic, fantastic places, peerless, wonderful, superlative places in the UK to go on holiday and that’s certainly what I will be doing.”

11:23 AM

White supremacist group Feuerkrieg Division banned by Government

A white supremacist terrorist group which supports violent race war and targets young people has been banned by the Government.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked Parliament for permission to proscribe Feuerkrieg Division, which the Government says was founded in late 2018 and operates across North America and Europe.

Ms Patel said: “This vile white supremacist group advocates violence and seeks to sow division, targeting young and vulnerable people online.

“I am determined to do everything I can to stop the spread of extreme ideologies that encourage and glorify terrorism, which is why I have taken action to proscribe this group.”

11:22 AM

Lobby latest: Downing Street defends migrant crossing response

Downing Street defended its response to migrants crossing the English Channel, after this weekend saw a new record reached. 

As reported earlier (9:57am), at least 180 migrants were able to cross the English Channel to the UK on Sunday, according to the Home Office. 

But Number 10 has insisted authorities are working hard to stamp out the problem, with  259 arrests and 101 convictions for the offence of people-smuggling itself so far this year. 

“Last year there were 418 arrests made, which led to 203 convictions and a total of 437 years in prison,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“We have been working very closely with the French to stop the illegal channel crossings,” he added.

“The French government and others have been clearing migrant camps, patrolling beaches, and have stopped over 1,000 migrant crossings this year.”

Officials insisted that migrants were returned back across the Channel “wherever possible”.

11:14 AM

Lobby latest: Formal review in masks underway as UK ups domestic production capability

 A formal review is under way into whether masks should be made mandatory in public places in England, while work is undertaken to produce face masks domestically, the Government has said.

Boris Johnson has in recent days appeared ready to back a shift towards making face masks mandatory in enclosed spaces. However this was contradicted by Michael Gove during an interview yesterday. 

The Number 10 official said today: “A formal review is taking place and we will be discussing it with scientific advisers this week and setting out a final position in the next few days.”

Asked whether there is new evidence behind Boris Johnson’s thinking, the spokesman said: “I’ve always said we would keep this under review and so have the experts who advise the Government.”

It comes as the UK invests “significantly increasing our capacity to manufacture face masks in the UK”, according to Downing Street.

“Lord (Theodore) Agnew is leading a drive to ensure we have face masks manufacturing ability and to increase production of PPE,” the spokesman added.

11:10 AM

Lobby latest: Work from home guidance under review

Number 10 said the current work from home guidance is under review after Boris Johnson encouraged employees last week to go back to work where they could.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “What the advice says is that employers should decide in consultation with their workers whether it is viable for them to continue working from home.

“Where it is decided that workers should come in to their place of work, then this will need to be reflected in the risk assessment and actions taken to manage to risk of transmission.

“The PM set out on Friday that if you’re obeying the guidelines, and provided it is safe, then you should look to go back to work.”

Asked whether the guidelines would be updated, the spokesman said: “The guidance we have is under review but it does say employers and employees should discuss and agree working arrangements to best suit the needs of the business.”

11:07 AM

Lobby latest: Huawei stance to be made public ‘as soon as possible’

Downing Street said any change to the Government’s stance on Huawei would be presented to Parliament “as soon as possible”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think we’ve said we will be in a position to say more on the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) review into the impact of the US sanctions soon, and we’ve also said that if there is a change in the Government’s position then we would deliver an update to Parliament as soon as possible.

“What the NCSC review is looking at is the possible impact of the US sanctions and they will have studied exactly what they entail and looked at all the relevant parts of the UK’s communication network to see if they are affected.”

The spokesman said he was not going to “pre-empt” the review’s findings, when asked about BT’s warning that it would take more than a decade to remove Huawei entirely from the UK’s network.

10:59 AM

New immigration system ‘not simply slamming the gates’, Prime Minister promises

Boris Johnson has said the UK will have a “humane and sensible” immigration system despite “taking back control” after Brexit.

Asked if he thinks there will be enough people coming in to work in the social care system, the Prime Minister told reporters: “I do.

“Don’t forget, one of the amazing things we’ve seen in the last few months is actually there are more EU nationals, I’m proud to say, living and working in this country than we even thought.

“We’re seeing huge numbers of people registering for their right to remain and that’s great so we have a big, big stock of workers who are helping out in this country who have come from abroad.

“Although of course we are going to be taking back control and we are controlling our immigration system we’re not going to be simply slamming the gates and stopping anybody anywhere coming into this country.

“Where people can contribute to this country, where people want to make their lives and do great things for this country, of course we’re going to have a humane and sensible system.”

10:55 AM

Brussels rules out renegotiating ‘poison pill’ Brexit treaty

Brussels has ruled out renegotiating the Brexit treaty after the European Research Group of MPs branded it a “poison pill for UK sovereignty”.  

A 120-page report compiled by pro-Leave MPs and lawyers states that exiting the transition period with the current provisions of the agreement in place would have “crippling” consequences for the UK and prevent the country from becoming a “fully sovereign state”.

Mark Francois, the ERG chairman, said the remaining elements of the Withdrawal Agreement, particularly the continued role of the European Court of Justice after transition “cannot be allowed to stand as they are”. 

But today a European Commission spokesman said: “The Withdrawal Agreement is already in force and we are now dedicating all our efforts to agree our new partnership with the UK.

“We are not renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement. We are negotiating our future partnership with the United Kingdom.”

10:42 AM

Government should ‘just raise pay’ of social care now

The new points-based immigration system is unlikely to affect the NHS – but salaries in social care must rise, the former chair of the Migration Advisory Committee has said. 

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has just revealed the details of the scheme, which include a fast-track visa for eligible occupations in the health and social care. 

Alan Manning, professor of economics at the London School of Economics, told the Today programme that new plans to include an “NHS visa” for health care workers was “probably a good idea, but not really game-changing for those sectors”, because the relatively high salary meant most jobs would come above the new salary threshold for overseas workers.

“The health care sector is predicted to be the least affected because most jobs are eligible anyway,” he said. “The NHS, although people worry about it a lot because it is incredibly important sector, is not predicted to see a big impact [from the new immigration system].

However there was a “really serious problem” in social care because “they just don’t offer competitive pay and other conditions,” he said, noting there were “plenty of [British] people able to do those jobs but they don’t want to .”

He added: “They need to find the money to pay those workers properly… Of course, it’s quite easy to say these workers deserve to be paid more – it’s a bit harder to find that money.”

But Prof Manning noted that the Government was “spending money hand over fist in all sorts of areas”, concluding they should “just raise their pay now”.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel

10:32 AM

PM to make face masks announcement ‘in next few days’

Boris Johnson has said the Government will make an announcement “in the next few days” on whether face coverings should be mandatory in shops.

“They have a great deal of value in confined spaces where you’re coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet,” the Prime Minister told reporters during a visit to the London Ambulance Service.

“The scientific evaluation of face coverings and their importance on stopping aerosol droplets, that’s been growing, so I do think that in shops it is very important to wear a face covering if you’re going to be in a confined space and you want to protect other people and receive protection in turn.

“Yes, face coverings, I think people should be wearing in shops, and in terms of how we do that – whether we will be making that mandatory or not – we will be looking at the guidance, we will be saying a little bit more in the next few days.”

What do you think? Have your say in the poll below

10:28 AM

New immigration system will encourage employers to invest in UK workforce, says Home Secretary 

Priti Patel has confirmed plans for a health and care visa under the UK’s new points-based immigration system after freedom of movement ends in January.

In a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons, the Home Secretary said: “At a time where an increased number of people across the UK are looking for work, the new points-based system will encourage employers to invest in the domestic UK workforce, rather than simply relying on labour from abroad.

“But we are also making necessary changes, so it is simpler for employers to attract the best and brightest from around the world to come to the UK to complement the skills we already have.

“It will be simpler for businesses to access the talent they need as we have removed the Resident Labour Market Test, lowered the skills and salary threshold, and removed the cap on skilled workers.

“We will be introducing a new-fast track health and care visa. This will make it easier and quicker for talented global health professionals to work in our brilliant NHS and in eligible occupations in the social care sector. The visa fee will be reduced and health professionals applying can expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment.

“We will exempt frontline workers in the health and social care sector and wider health workers from the requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.”

The Government is also “refining” the visa process for students and launching a graduate route next summer, the statement said, adding: “The student route will be streamlined for sponsoring institutions and applicants, and the graduate route will help retain the brightest and the best students to contribute to the UK post-study.”

10:21 AM

Health and care visa to provide fast-track entry for doctors and nurses

The Home Office has just published a new written ministerial statement setting out further details of the UK’s post-immigration status. 

It includes the health and care visa announced by Priti Patel over the weekend, which will be incorporated into the new points-based immigration system under the “Skilled Worker” route. 

Under the new scheme, frontline staff from overseas will be given fast-track entry to the UK, with reduced application fees. 

They and their families will also be exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge. 

It also flags that anyone already in the UK who has been sentenced to a year or more in prison “must be considered for deportation”.

The document providing further information on the new immigration system said: “Where the 12-month criminality deportation threshold is not met, a foreign criminal will still be considered for deportation where it is conducive to the public good, including where they have serious or persistent criminality.

“For EU citizens who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or the UK’s domestic implementation of the withdrawal agreements, the tougher UK criminality thresholds will apply to conduct committed after the end of the transition period.

“The EU public policy, public security or public health test will continue to apply to their conduct committed before the end of the transition period.”

10:12 AM

Leicester’s infection rate is not falling steadily 

Leicester’s rate of new Covid-19 cases has fallen from its recent peak, but is not declining steadily, the latest data suggests.

The equivalent of 115.4 cases per 100,000 people were detected in the seven days to July 9, according to the latest figures from NHS England.

This is down slightly on 119.9 cases per 100,000 people in the previous seven days to July 2.

Rolling data for the seven-day rate of new cases in the city shows a peak of 159.1 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to June 25.

Since then the seven-day rate has gone down, though it is not dropping steadily.

For example, the rate jumped from 115.1 for the seven days to July 4 to 127.5 for the seven days to July 5.

09:32 AM

Immigration document: what to expect

With the latest details of the post-Brexit immigration system due to be published shortly, The Telegraph’s Charles Hymas has a detailed preview of what we can expect…

Foreign criminals sentenced to more than a year in jail will be banned from Britain under new immigration rules.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will on Monday set out details of the points-based system which will replace freedom of movement from January 1.

The 130-page document will abolish the route into the UK for unskilled migrants and instead award points to applicants if they have skilled job offers, speak English and meet minimum salary thresholds.

The new system will mean that EU citizens, including criminals, will be treated in the same way as migrants from the rest of the world with businesses expected to do more to recruit British workers and end their reliance on cheap foreign labour.

And it will give the Government powers to exclude or deport any foreign criminal who has received a prison sentence of more than a year.

You can read more here.

08:57 AM

Record migrant crossings on Sunday 

At least 180 migrants were able to cross the English Channel to the UK on Sunday – a new single day record.

They were among more than 380 migrants who attempted the crossing, the Home Office confirmed on Monday morning.

More than 200 migrants were intercepted by the French and prevented from reaching the UK.

08:38 AM

A pint at Wetherspoon to get even cheaper … thanks to the Sunak Special 

The Pub giant is to reduce prices on meals and drinks following the decision to cut VAT on food, coffee and soft drinks.

It even produced posters praising the Chancellor.

Messages including Sunak’s Specials and Dishi Rishi will be displayed alongside details of lower prices on some drinks and food following the decision to reduce VAT from 20% to 5%.

The company said it will fully pass on the tax cut to its customers from Wednesday, including real ale, coffee, soft drinks, breakfasts and other food.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said:

Wetherspoon has campaigned for tax equality between pubs, restaurants and supermarkets for many years.

Supermarkets pay no VAT on food sales and pubs pay 20%.

Supermarkets pay about two pence per pint of business rates and pubs pay about 20 pence.

These tax differences have helped supermarkets to subsidise their selling prices of beer, wine and spirits, enabling them to capture about half of pubs’ beer sales, for example, in the past forty years.

A VAT reduction will help pubs and restaurants reverse this trend – creating more jobs, helping high streets and eventually generating more tax income for the Government.

08:02 AM

Local lockdowns running at a hundred per week, Matt Hancock reveals

More than 100 outbreaks of coronavirus are happening each week, Matt Hancock has revealed, as it emerged door-to-door testing will be used increasingly to contain localised infections.

Writing for The Telegraph, the Health Secretary said many outbreaks were being dealt with “swiftly and silently”, through small lockdowns and new testing regimes such as portable walk-in centres.

Read the full story here.

07:59 AM

Have your say on: face masks

The value of face masks has been debated at length, and increasingly it seems the UK is an outlier, with coverings now mandatory in some public spaces in an estimated 120 countries, including Scotland. 

Boris Johnson even suggested rules should become “stricter” on Friday, as he urged people to go back to work if they could. But yesterday Michael Gove signalled that the decision would still be left to the individual. 

But what do you think? Have your say in the poll below.

07:54 AM

Face masks should be mandatory in shops, says Sage adviser

Face coverings should be mandatory in shops, according to the president of the Royal Society and Sage adviser.

Dr Venki Ramakrishnan told Good Morning Britain that the evidence on face coverings has “shifted”, and was “now quite strongly in favour of using face coverings in enclosed spaces where we’re likely to come into contact with strangers”.

The Sage expert said the Government was not being consistent, with one rule for public transport and another for public spaces, saying: “The behaviour of the virus is the same in all of these spaces.”

He added: “Scotland made it mandatory and it’s not been a problem in Scotland. People have, since last week, been going about their business, going shopping, it gives people confidence.

“I should also point out that the best way to revive our economy is to prevent repeated disruptive lockdowns, these are disruptive economically but they’re also disruptive psychologically.

“The more tools we can throw at the problem to avoid disruptive lockdowns the better off we are in reviving our economy.”

07:49 AM

Face masks could become mandatory, Robert Buckland says

Robert Buckland has said he believes face masks should become “mandatory perhaps”, noting the position is under “careful and daily review”. 

On Friday Boris Johnson suggested coverings could be made mandatory. However yesterday Michael Gove said this was not the Government’s thinking. 

Asked which side of the debate he stood, the Justice Secretary told the Today programme he erred towards allowing people to use their “good sense”, but kept the door open to future rule changes. 

“If it becomes necessary to nudge people further then of course we will consider that,” he said, noting that had been the case with public transport. 

“We will follow the evidence and take a considered decision,” he added. “It is under careful and daily review.”

07:46 AM

‘National security comes first’ on Huawei, says Robert Buckland

Robert Buckland has said it is “right to review” the decision on Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s technological infrastructure, saying the Government will prioritise national security above economic interests. 

The Justice Secretary told the Today programme he would “note with interest” what the boss of BT has said about possible outages stemming from stripping Huawei from the telecoms network too quickly (8:05am), agreeing there were “massive practical considerations here”. 

But he added: “We had taken view that it was important for us to be ahead and develop technologically as quickly as possible… we want to race ahead and have the best form of internet connectivity we can, because it means more as a country we are more competitive economically, and brings greater quality of life to our citizens. 

“But at the same time national security comes first.”

07:39 AM

Shop workers ‘should not be police’ on face masks, says Waterstone’s boss

Shop workers “should not be the police” of people wearing face masks, the boss of Waterstone’s book chain has said. 

James Daunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that asking customers to wear a mask was a “reasonable measure”.

But he added: “There will be a tiny, tiny minority of people who will be confrontational over it and it is not the position of shop workers to enter into that situation.

“And indeed, we would ask our shop workers not to confront someone who is stealing from us, for example. We would call the police.

“We shouldn’t put ourselves in confrontational positions, but I think we can, as retailers, if we are requested to do so, clearly tell everybody it is a sensible thing to do.”

07:37 AM

‘Sexist’ beauty salon rules mean reopening might not be worth it 

Beauty salons, nail bars, massage studios, skin piercing services, physical therapy businesses and spas will be allowed to reopen from today. 

But the Government’s ‘sexist’ rules regarding beauty salons mean it is not financially viable for some of them to reopen, therapists have claimed.

Read the full story here.

07:32 AM

Nicola Sturgeon tweets independence threat over state aid story 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has tweeted a link to an FT report suggesting Boris Johnson is “setting up a clash with Scotland and Wales over control of state aid”.

She wrote: “Make no mistake, this would be a full scale assault on devolution – a blatant move to erode the powers of the Scottish Parliament in key areas. If the Tories want to further boost support for independence, this is the way to do it.”

The article suggests the new legislation, which will give Westminster statutory powers to control policies for the entire UK, could appear in a bill this autumn laying the legal foundations of a new internal market.

07:20 AM

‘Too early to say’ if points-based immigration system will affect care sector

It is “too early to say” that the post-Brexit immigration system will disadvantage the care sector, a Cabinet minister has said ahead of further details of the new approach.

Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, told Sky News the UK’s new points-based system would be “flexible” and that ministers would listen to those working in the sector to ensure “adjustments” can be made.

It comes amid fears that the sector could struggle to fill roles, which fall below the salary threshold for overseas workers, at a critical point for social care. 

“It is too early to say this system will somehow disadvantage the care sector,” he added. “We will be listening carefully  to what is being said and ensure there is the flexibility to make adjustments for need as it rises.”

Mr Buckland noted that the sector had responded to the “recruitment challenge” during the pandemic, adding: “We are going to be basing [the system] on evidence and information from various sectors.”

07:15 AM

People should use common sense on face masks, says Justice Secretary

The Government wants people to “come to their own judgements” on face masks, Robert Buckland has said. 

The Justice Secretary echoed Michael Gove’s comments yesterday, saying it was a “courtesy” to other people to wear face masks, particularly ahead of the end of shielding this month. 

But on Friday, Boris Johnson heavily hinted that it would be made mandatory, using his People’s PMQs to talk about the need for “stricter” rules to be deployed. In total,  120 countries including Scotland are now making face coverings compulsory in certain public spaces.

Mr Buckland told Sky News: “I wear a face masks in an enclosed space… I carry one with me.

“It is important I do my bit to not only prevent inadvertent transmission but also to reassure people that the space is as safe as possible.”

But he added: “People need to be trusted to come to their own judgements. Common sense is underestimated at our peril.”

07:05 AM

Britain faces outages if Huawei stripped from telecoms network in less than 10 years, BT boss warns

Britain could face outages if the Government removes Huawei entirely from the UK’s telecommunications network in less than a decade, BT has warned. 

Philip Jansen, chief executive of the telecoms giant, told the Today programme it would be “impossible” to remove Huawei entirely from the UK’s telecommunication network “in under 10 years”. 

He suggested it would require a minimum of five years but “ideally” no less than seven, he added. 

“If we get in a situation where things need to go very fast, then we go into a situation where service for 24 million BT Group mobile customers is put into question – outages would be possible.

“Secondly the security and safety in the short-term could be put at risk – this is really critical here.

“If you are not able to buy or transact with Huawei that would mean you wouldn’t be able to get software upgrades if you take it to its specificity.”

He said there was a danger that “accelerating the rip-out” of Huawei from the 5G network meant that time was not putting effort into extending the service provision across the country.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to make a statement on Tuesday over the future of Huawei in the UK.

06:58 AM

Leicester lockdown has shone “intense” light on modern-day slavery, says minister

The lockdown in Leicester has shone “intense” light on modern-day slavery, the Justice Secretary has said, urging the wider community to “call it out” so authorities can act.

This weekend Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said he believes as many as 10,000 people could be working in slave-like conditions in textile factories in Leicester.

Mr Buckland told Sky News: “A light has now been shone on an appalling litany of abuse and I’m glad to hear that the National Crime Agency (NCA) is now conducting an investigation, its got a lot of power to bring in various agencies to start the work of an investigation into this.

“Modern-day slavery is all around us, its in every town and city in Britain and indeed in our rural areas as well, it takes many forms.

“This type of exploitation, people being paid well below under the minimum wage, having to work in unacceptable conditions, that sort of abuse has to be stamped out, it has to be examined, we have to follow the evidence and prosecute wherever possible.”

He added: “What has happened with modern slavery is that we’ve legislated on it, we’ve improved the response of the agencies and the authorities to it, but now its up to all of us in our communities to identify it, call it out and to do everything we can to stamp it out.

“This is not a job that’s going to take weeks, it’s going to take a long time but I welcome the investigation.”

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