DThe UK Government will end passenger free movement for EU citizens immediately after Brexit. Freedom of movement will end "on 31 October," said a government spokeswoman on Monday. The new government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pursuing a more restrictive course than the previous government under its party colleague Theresa May, who had provided for a "transition period" in the person-free movement.
The details of the right of entry for the period after Brexit are not yet clear. But the government spokeswoman now said that there would be "tougher regulations" in matters of crime. Even under the May administration, it was foreseen that EU citizens who have become prominent with serious crime, no longer get a residence permit.
The government spokeswoman recalled that Johnson was for the introduction of a points system according to Australian pattern, to sort the immigrants willing to their abilities. With regard to scientists, Johnson had said in early August that he wanted to introduce a system for accelerated visa approval for the "best brains".
Freedom of movement for persons is one of the central achievements of European integration in the EU with the free movement of capital, goods and services. During the Brexit referendum three years ago, calling for the abolition of free movement of persons was a key issue for EU exit advocates. "Take back control" was the motto of the immigration policy.
Currently, around 3.6 million EU citizens live in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of Poles and other Eastern Europeans have arrived since the EU's eastern enlargement. Under May, EU foreigners were offered to apply for a permanent residence permit. The process is simple and cheap. Around one million EU citizens have made use of it.
Johnson meets Merkel and Macron
The British industry association CBI called on Monday evening clarity on the future immigration rules. "Businesses and workers know that the immigration system is going to change," said CBI Vice Director Josh Hardie. But it causes "confusion" when it is now announced to end the existing arrangements before new rules are drafted. "Now is the time for the government to reduce insecurity, not create more insecurity and hinder preparations for a no-deal," said Hardie.
The Johnson administration has consistently stated its intention to leave the EU on October 31, whether with or without a deal. Meanwhile, many observers see the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit rise sharply.
However, in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk published on Monday evening, Johnson campaigned for new Brexit negotiations. An exit agreement with the EU is a "top priority" for its government.
At meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Johnson is trying to open the door to changes to May's "deal" this week. It is mainly about the "backstop" regulation to the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which is unacceptable from the perspective of Brexit supporters. If that does not succeed, Johnson would probably be ready to complete the EU exit without an agreement.