HOME Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to ban foreign criminals sentenced to more than a year in jail from entering Britain.
Priti unveiled details of how the UK’s new points-based immigration system – which will come into effect on January 1 after freedom of movement ends – will operate.
Ministers will be given powers to exclude or deport foreign criminals who have received prison sentences of more than a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The paper said officials will also be able to bar persistent offenders such as pickpockets and burglars, even if they have been sentenced to less than a year.
The change would mean criminals from the European Union are treated the same as currently happens to those from non-EU countries.
Under the present rules, convicted criminals from the bloc can only be excluded on a case-by-case basis.
The new immigration system is designed to cut the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain from the beginning of next year, but aims to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to get UK visas.
People who want to live and work in the UK will need to gain 70 points to be eligible to apply for a visa.
Points will be awarded for key requirements like being able to speak English to a certain level, having a job offer from an approved employer, and meeting a minimum salary threshold.
A health and care visa will provide a route for key health professionals to work in the UK, while a graduate route will allow international students to stay in the UK for at least two years after completing their studies.
Ms Patel said on Sunday: “The British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system.
“Now we have left the EU, we are free to unleash this country’s full potential and implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver a new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021.
“Britain is open for business and ready to welcome the best and brightest global talent.”
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said Labour would “scrutinise the proposals on visas very carefully”.
“The Government has rushed through immigration legislation with very little detail in the middle of a global pandemic.”
“There are real concerns that this will cause major problems for our NHS and our care sector, at a time when we are still waiting for the Government to make good on their promise to scrap the unfair immigration health surcharge for workers who were being charged to access the very services they were keeping going to help others during the toughest of times.”