An Immigration Bill will be introduced to the House of Commons later today, the government has announced. It is expected to be similar to the one introduced in 2018 by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid, which ultimately lapsed when the Johnson government took power and secured a general election.
The revived bill was foreshadowed in the December 2019 Queen’s Speech, published after the Conservative victory in that election. The main elements are an end to free movement of EU citizens — which would otherwise be preserved in UK law despite Brexit — and a legislative guarantee of the special rights of Irish citizens.
The draft law is said to “pave the way” for a points based immigration system, although the press release also refers to that being implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules later in the year.
The 2020 version of the bill will be presented not by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, but by her deputy, Kevin Foster. Patel may be a little busy trying to salvage her political career, but has tweeted in support of the bill.
The Home Office has been engaged in some light rebranding ahead of the bill’s publication. Foster is no longer merely the Immigration Minister, but the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration. Tier 2 (General) is now the General work visa (Tier 2), while Tier 4 (General) is now the General student visa (Tier 4).