By focusing on high-skilled migration and not low-skilled migration, this package is perfectly capable of reducing immigration. Indeed, I believe it will reduce it to much lower, much more sustainable levels.
Another very important aspect of our future immigration system is that it is designed to meet the needs of the entire United Kingdom. Immigration is a reserved matter, but it is important that we take into account the particular circumstances of different parts of the UK. That is why we will continue with our shortage occupation list policy to meet the needs of Scotland, and we will also consider similar measures for Wales. In recognition of Northern Ireland’s position as the only part of the UK that will have a land border with the EU, we are asking the MAC to compile a separate shortage occupation list for Northern Ireland.
I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of our relationship with the Republic of Ireland. We are long-standing friends, allies and partners, and we will preserve the common travel area, as well as the rights that Irish citizens enjoy. There is an unbreakable bond between the people of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and that will never change.
Together, these changes will deliver a system that backs employers, giving them access to highly skilled workers, while also ensuring that they can drive up productivity and wages. It will also support the public services we all rely on, giving them access to the skilled workers they need.