Wednesday 26 September 2018 3:24 AM UTC
LONDON Sept 26: Theresa May’s cabinet has agreed a post-Brexit immigration system that will offer visas to immigrants in a tiered system based on skills and wealth, a flagship policy that is expected to be one of her key announcements to the Conservative party conference next week.
Downing Street hopes the migration policy will appeal to party members concerned about May’s leadership and the Brexit negotiations, which last week appeared to have reached an impasse at Salzburg when EU leaders declared her Chequers proposals would not work.
Ministers signed off a plan presented by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, in which skilled workers will more easily be able to obtain visas than the unskilled and in which there will be no preferential access to the UK labour market for EU citizens.
Territories which strike a free trade deal with the UK, including the EU, will be given enhanced access to the British labour market, but that in the future could include the United States, Canada, or elsewhere.
At the same time, no significant concerns were raised by cabinet members about the status of the divorce talks, even though hard Brexiters on the right of her party continued to press for May to change her policy, publishing their alternative “Canada-style” free trade proposal.
The Brexit negotiations update was held at the end of the cabinet meeting on Monday afternoon and the only person who referred to a Canada-style trade deal was the prime minister herself in her own presentation.
She added that some EU heads of government were being more constructive than others behind the scenes, but did not specify which leaders.
The meeting amounted to a moment of relief for the under-pressure prime minister, who heads to New York on Tuesday for a United Nations meeting before turning her attention to the party conference. One cabinet source said May was “just trying to get through the conference season intact”.
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