UK woos Africans with ‘people before passports’ immigration system in bid for post Brexit trade agreements
London, Jan. 20, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The UK’s post-Brexit immigration system will put “people before passports”, Boris Johnson has said in bid to win more African trade agreements post Brexit
Addressing more than two dozen African presidents and prime ministers in an opening speech to the UK-Africa investment summit in London on Monday, the prime minister said the UK was the “ultimate one-stop shop” for trade, education and tech.
“Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come,” he said in a speech focusing more on general entreaties than specific policy ideas.
Johnson said people from African countries could benefit from the still-to-be detailed changes to the immigration system after Brexit, which will end the free movement of people to and from EU nations.
“You’ll be pleased to hear that one thing is changing – our immigration system,” Johnson said. “Change is coming, and our system is becoming fairer and more equal between all our global friends and partners, treating people the same wherever they come from.
“By putting people before passports we were will able to attract the best talent from around the world, wherever they may be,” he said.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana were among the 15 African leaders at the event.
Freedom of movement between the UK and EU is expected to end after the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
The government says it will introduce an Australian-style points based system by January 2021.
Under this system those wanting to work in the UK could be assigned points based on a number of professional and personal characteristics such as education levels.
Currently, under freedom of movement, EU citizens do not need a visa to work in the UK, but immigrants from outside the EU are subject to a points system based on English language skills, being sponsored by a company and meeting a salary threshold.
Speaking in London, the prime minister said post-Brexit the UK’s immigration system would become “more equal”.
“By putting people before passports we will be able to attract the best talent from around the world, wherever they may be,” he said.