Author: JOHN STEVENS and CLAIRE ELLICOT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
A cabinet split over how many migrants to allow into Britain after Brexit has delayed the publication of plans on the policy until the new year.
Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark are pushing for a proposed minimum salary for people coming to the UK to be reduced or be exempt for certain jobs.
Ministers had promised to set out by the end of this week the rules for EU migrants coming to Britain when freedom of movement ends after Brexit.
But last night it emerged that the long-awaited immigration White Paper faces being pushed back to January as ministers cannot agree on the policy.
Whitehall sources said Cabinet divisions centred on a proposal that skilled migrants will have to earn at least £30,000 before being allowed in on five-year visas.
Mr Hammond and Mr Clark have raised concerns about extending the salary threshold, which currently applies to non-EU migrants, to people from the EU.
It is understood they want the earnings figure to be lowered or exempt in certain sectors.
Last night a Whitehall source said: ‘The £30,000 figure has not been nailed down, which is why the White Paper might not be this week.
‘We are still aiming to publish on Wednesday but that is looking unlikely.’
Under the plans, low-skilled workers will only be allowed to apply for one-year visas.
Once they expire, they will have to leave Britain and can only return after a ‘cooling off period’.
The immigration paper has now been delayed for more than a year as ministers have repeatedly failed to agree.
Last month Home Secretary Sajid Javid had said the proposals would come before the end of the year.
On Thursday Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom had reaffirmed that they would arrive before MPs leave Parliament for Christmas.
Theresa May has long clashed with some of her ministers over her commitment to the target of cutting net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’.
Last month she praised a report by the government-backed Migration Advisory Committee calling for the end of low-skilled migration and backing the £30,000 salary requirement for skilled migrants.
Asked about concerns from business leaders over staff shortages, the Prime Minister said: ‘We have seen a significant creation of new jobs in our country. What I hope to see is opportunities for young people in the UK.’
Last month figures showed that net migration from the EU to the UK is at a six-year low. In the first six months of 2018, there were 74,000 more EU citizens coming to the UK than people leaving for other EU countries.
The new immigration system will not start until after the Brexit transition period ends in December 2020.
Jean-Claude Juncker and other top eurocrats were yesterday handed a pay rise.
The EU Commission chief and EU Council president Donald Tusk will pocket an extra £5,900 a year in salary and allowances.
It means the pair, who already earn more than double Theresa May’s £150,000 salary, will take home more than £350,000 a year.
The EU Commission’s six vice-presidents will also receive an increase of £5,395 a year. Meanwhile, the overall pay package of the 28 EU commissioners, including Britain’s Sir Julian King, will rise to around £286,000 a year.
Director-generals, who head up departments of the EU civil service, will earn £215,000 in the 1.7 per cent across-the-board increase backdated to July 1.
Internal staff documents reveal that it will cost an extra £124million next year.