The ability to control immigration and secure our borders was an important part of why many people voted to leave the EU, and everyone would agree it needs to work in the best interests of the UK and our economy.
As home secretary, the son of immigrants and a former businessman, I know the vital contribution that migrants make to our country.
I’ve been touring the UK with the immigration minister, listening to businesses large and small about how to make the immigration system better for industry.
Last year, I announced ambitious plans for the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation. It favours skills and talent over nationality and makes it easier for businesses to hire talent from overseas. It needs to be a system that is based on robust evidence and listens to the needs of all sectors of our economy.
This is why we’ve been engaging with businesses and employers across the UK to find out what this means for them. Since announcing our proposals, we’ve held over 100 events across the UK engaging 1,500 stakeholders. We’ve also set up five advisory groups to deepen engagement between government and industry.
It’s clear from these roundtables and meetings that there are many views on salary threshold levels. We always said we wanted a national conversation on salary thresholds before coming to a decision. That is why I’ve asked independent experts at the Migration Advisory Committee to look further at the salary threshold question.
They will consider the mechanism for calculating future salary thresholds, the levels at which they should be set, whether their conclusions are applicable to the whole of the UK or if there is a need for greater regional variation, and the impact of exemptions to the salary threshold such as for occupations in shortage or part-time workers.
We will consider all the evidence – from economists as well as business leaders and civil society – before finalising the thresholds.
More broadly, I’m confident this ambitious blueprint for a post-Brexit immigration system will be good news for British businesses.
These proposals allow business to hire talent from anywhere in the world through one single, skills-based system. This means that banks, hospitals and tech firms can access the talent and skills they need from all corners of the world.
The new system will also be faster and more streamlined for businesses. It will abolish the outdated requirement to advertise jobs in the UK for a month before hiring from overseas for highly skilled workers, and there will be far quicker processing times for work visas.
We are also widening the skills threshold to allow more people who will add value to our businesses and economy – anyone with the equivalent of A-levels will be able to apply.
To help organisations adjust to the new system, a transitional measure will establish a route allowing workers from some countries to come for a year and work, open to all skill levels, and with no requirement to be sponsored by an employer.
This bold new system will help build a Britain fit for the future and send a message to the world that we are open for business.