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Won't let anyone 'jump queue' ahead of countries like India: Theresa May

Currently, migrants from within the EU are free to come in and find work in the UK, while workers from non-EU countries like India have to undergo strict visa application requirements

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Theresa May | Photo: Reuters
Theresa May | Photo: Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday vowed that Brexit would level the playing field for migrant workers in the UK, with migrants from the European Union (EU) no longer be able to jump the queue ahead of those from countries like India.

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference in London, she said the country’s post-Brexit immigration system will be based on skills and talent rather than which country the immigrant comes from.

“Once we have left the EU, we will be fully in control of who comes here. It will no longer be the case that EU nationals, regardless of the skills or experience they have to offer, can jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi,” she said in her speech.


“Instead of a system based on where a person is from, we will have one that is built around the talents and skills a person has to offer,” she said, adding that the core of the post-Brexit immigration system will be “skills based” rather than “quota based”.

Under the current EU freedom of movement rules, migrant workers from within the economic bloc are free to come in and find work in the UK, while workers from non-EU countries like India have to undergo strict visa application requirements.

The UK government has indicated that after Britain has formally left the EU, workers from any part of the world will be subjected to similar visa rules.

May’s speech came against the backdrop of rebel MPs within her Conservative Party carrying on with their plotting of a possible coup to oust her as leader of the party and British PM.


However, there is no clarity over whether the number of Tory MPs submitting letters of no-confidence in May's premiership will hit the required 48-MP mark to trigger a no-confidence vote in her leadership any time this week.

There has been widespread criticism of the draft 585-page withdrawal agreement struck by the British PM with her counterparts in the EU, which is set to sign off on the deal at a summit on November 25.

Despite having lost some members of her Cabinet last week, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, May used her speech on Monday to stress that she intends to move ahead on the so-called divorce agreement with the EU, with plans to head to Brussels later this week to thrash out details of the UK’s future relationship with the 27-member economic bloc after Britain has formally left in March 29, 2019.

She reiterated that she is not willing to reopen discussions with Brussels over the withdrawal agreement.

First Published: Mon, November 19 2018. 22:55 IST
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