Hugo welcomes single, skills-based immigration system which ends free movement

East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire today welcomes the Government’s plan for a new single, skills-based immigration system, which marks the end of free movement once and for all.

The system will be built around what people can contribute, rather than where they come from. For the first time in decades, the UK will have full control over who comes here, with everyone needing permission before they arrive.

This will enable employers in East Devon to have access to the skills they need from around the world, while ensuring net migration is reduced to sustainable levels.

There will be a new visa route for skilled workers, no cap for professions such as doctors and engineers and no limit on the number of international students coming to our world class universities – who will be able to stay for up to 12 months after graduation to find employment.

Commenting, Sir Hugo said:

“The people of East Devon voted to take back control of our borders, and that is exactly what the future system will allow us to do.”  

“We will welcome talented and hardworking people who can support our economy, while bringing immigration down to sustainable levels and making sure we are training people up here in East Devon.

“For the first time in decades, we will have full control over who comes here.”


The future immigration system:

  • Ending free movement to deliver on the referendum result, replacing it with a new single, skills-based immigration system built on what people can contribute, not where they come from. For the first time in decades, we will be able to control the numbers and type of people coming to live and work here. This is in line with the continued commitment to reduce annual net migration to sustainable levels, as set out in the Conservative Party manifesto, rather than the hundreds of thousands we have consistently seen over the last two decades. The system will introduce a new route for skilled workers, which favours experience and talent over nationality, enabling employers to have access to the skills they need from around the world.


  • Following the recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee:
  • Removing the annual cap on the number of work visas issued to give businesses certainty.
  • Widening the skills threshold to include people with qualifications equivalent to A levels.
  • Ending the requirements for labour market tests by employers wanting to sponsor a worker.


  • Ensuring there is no limit on the number of genuine international students who can come to the UK to study. Proposals would extend the time they can stay post-study to find employment to six months for both undergraduate and postgraduate students on full time courses.


  • Maintaining a strong yet frictionless border. We are creating a single, consistent approach to criminality by aligning both EU and non-EU criminality thresholds. We will end the use of national ID cards as a form of travel documentation for EU citizens, introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme to allow information to be collected at an earlier stage and allow citizens from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, USA, Singapore and South Korea to use e-gates to pass through the border on arrival.


  • Ensuring a smooth transition to the new system to provide certainty for businesses. There will be a new route for workers at any skill level for a temporary period. We will consult with businesses and stakeholders on the length of the visa, as well as on the cooling off period.