An issue of priority for all governments is maintaining the safety of our borders and ensuring that the UK is welcome to the best and brightest around the world. Britain’s new global points-based immigration system is now in place, meaning our country can attract the skills we need.
The new system is: fairer, as it welcomes people on what they will contribute rather than where they are from; firmer, as this country will have control of its own borders; and skills-led, as points will be awarded for a job offer at an appropriate skill level as well as meeting a salary threshold or ability to speak English to an appropriate level. This is in addition to an emphasis on employers investing in, and training, the domestic UK workforce.
By moving away from a complex system, sometimes reliant on physical documents which are decades old, the Government aims to introduce a streamlined process by the end of 2024; making it quicker, easier and in some cases safer for people applying to come to the UK, and proving their rights when they are here.
Work has already started on wider reforms, including Electronic Travel Authorisations which will be introduced in the future. By updating the border and immigration system, this country will improve its ability to know more about people before they reach the UK border.
At the same time as reforming how people come to Britain legally, it is also right that Government addresses the ways in which people seek to arrive in this country that do not comply with the rules.
The New Plan for Immigration will help better protect and support those in genuine need of refuge. The Government will of course continue safe and legal routes, with the Home Secretary being able to grant a humanitarian route to vulnerable individuals in immediate danger and at risk in their home country.
Countries such as Australia have managed to discourage asylum claims via illegal routes, and these new plans will enable Britain to do the same.
Whether a person enters the UK legally or illegally will, for the first time, have an impact on the progression of their asylum claim.
The maximum sentence for illegally entering will also be increased, with life sentences for those facilitating illegal entry introduced.
A robust approach to age assessment will also be coming in to safeguard against adults claiming to be children.
Ensuring fairness in our immigration system is an issue of importance to many people in Crawley and is one I will continue to pursue with ministers.
Henry Smith MP