LONDON: The potential and apparently look definite candidate for premiership, Boris Johnson has said he will deliver an Australian-style points based immigration system if he becomes prime minister.
The would-be Tory leader said he wanted to restore the public’s faith in the UK’s immigration system and to be “tougher on those who abuse our hospitality”.
Johnson said he wanted to “learn from” Australia, which he said had a simple system based on contribution, fairness and control.
He said: “We will restore democratic control of immigration policy after we leave the EU.
“We must be much more open to high-skilled immigration such as scientists, but we must also assure the public that, as we leave the EU, we have control over the number of unskilled immigrants coming into the country.
“We must be tougher on those who abuse our hospitality. Other countries such as Australia have great systems and we should learn from them.”
The former foreign secretary added he would also seek to protect EU nationals’ rights. “This should have happened straight after the referendum. I will sort it out immediately and make sure that this issue is properly dealt with and millions of people can stop worrying.”
The Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill is currently at report stage and contains plans to end the existing automatic preference for EU citizens.
However, the Bill does not set out the details of what the new immigration system will look like from 2021, and a consultation to shape this is not due to report back to parliament until the end of this year. Johnson said he would ask the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to incorporate elements of the Australian points-based system into the UK’s new law.
He would ask the MAC to consider contribution, including a firm job offer before arrival, the ability to speak English and blocking the ability to claim benefits immediately.
Johnson also committed to making sure that the three million EU nationals living in the UK would have their rights protected if the UK leaves without a deal, and said he would continue the roll out of “settled status” and “pre-settled status” scheme as before.
Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have unveiled pledges on immigration and education. Frontrunner Mr Johnson has promised to deliver an Australian-style points-based immigration system if he becomes prime minister.
And Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt said he would cancel the tuition fee debts of young entrepreneurs who start businesses and employ people.
The winner of the contest will take over from Theresa May on 24 July. In the Conservative Party digital hustings, broadcast on the party’s Facebook page and on Twitter on Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson said he was “open to talent, open to immigration” but he said it “should be controlled”.