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Queen’s Speech December 2019: The biggest change to Immigration Law in modern times?

20 December 2019 #Immigration

It has been a decade since the UK had an effective majority government, and in less than a week of the election, we have seen a substantive legislative agenda in today’s Queen Speech. In this article, we explore the changes to Immigration Law, and how it could be the biggest change in recent history.

One may be justified to draw parallels to the proposed Immigration Legislation in 2020 to the Commonwealth Act of 1968 by Harold Wilson. The latter was enacted to restrict the ‘free movement’ of Commonwealth nationals to the UK. In some respects, it was also to prepare the UK for its entry into the European Economic Community in 1973.

The proposed 2020 legislation seeks to end the free movement of European nationals, and completely overhaul the entry and exit of all foreign nationals. The task ahead is momentous, as for the first time in decades European nationals would become subject to ‘immigration control’. This means a different way of processing applications in British posts abroad, at the Border and for the duration of their stay in the UK.

It also means a rapid reduction of European migration to the UK, and as such, an impending shortage of easily accessible skilled, low-skilled and unskilled migration. The government, therefore, proposes to provide a system which focuses on ‘the best and the brightest’ and to end a permanent route for ‘low-skilled migration’.

The new system promises not to have any caps, but at the same time aims to reduce net migration (with no targets set). The system is said to attract more students, providing better post-graduation opportunities.

The challenge, however, does not end there. Years of immigration law would have to be re-written, the complexity of which was termed to be of the Byzantine era by the Court of Appeal.

Nonetheless, 2020 is expected to be an interesting year for Immigration Law, and we at Clarkslegal hope to keep you posted.

In the meantime, we hope you have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Clarkslegal LLP Immigration Team

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.


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Hamza Malik

Hamza Malik

E: hmalik@clarkslegal.com
T: 0207 539 8020
M: 07990 595 483