U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to announce a “wholesale” reform of the nation’s immigration system in the wake of its exit from the European Union.
In a speech on Monday, Patel will pledge to overhaul immigration rules to allow Britain to attract skilled workers while tightening security. Border control was a key issue in 2016’s Brexit referendum, and the home office’s promise to “take back control” of the system is a direct echo of the Leave campaign’s slogan.
“What’s next for immigration is wholesale reform of the system,” Patel will say, according to extracts released by her office. “Anything short of that would not be fair, would not keep our country safe, and would not meet the demands of the British people whom I serve.”
Patel is set to introduce work routes, a suspension of the cap on the number of skilled workers who can come to the U.K., and free visa extensions for key healthcare workers and their dependents. She will also pledge to fix an asylum system that she says costs more than 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion). Patel plans to advocate new legislation to tackle criminal gangs profiting from people smuggling and speed up the removal of dangerous criminals.
“The immigration system is broken, but this country isn’t,” she will say. “We can’t fix the system overnight, but we will fix it.”
The announcement comes after the home secretary unveiled the U.K.’s plans for a fully digital border, allowing it to count exactly how many people are entering and leaving. The Electronic Travel Authorisations program, which requires all travelers to seek permission for entry in advance of travel, will be fully in place by the end of 2025.