Theresa May will today claim EU citizens have been “jumping the queue” ahead of immigrants from other countries in a speech selling her Brexit deal to business.
The Prime Minister will hail the end to free movement as a benefit of leaving the EU in an address to the CBI conference in London.
Businesses have warned of skills shortages after Brexit due to a fall in workers from the EU.
Under current rules, immigration from the rest of the world is governed by visa conditions set by the government, and is unaffected by arrivals from the EU.
“In the future, outside the EU, immigration will continue to make a positive contribution to our national life,” Mrs May will say. “But the difference will be this: 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.
“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.”
The comments were branded “crass” by SNP MSP Tom Arthur. He said: “It is deeply disingenuous for Theresa May who, as both Prime Minister and Home Secretary, has obsessively created a hostile environment for immigrants to now pretend she wants to open the door to Australian engineers and Indian developers.
“Freedom of movement within the EU is a two-way street, offering UK citizens the right to live, work, study and retire in Europe.”