Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

EU criminals could be barred from UK after Brexit

UK government says "tougher criminality rules" will be introduced for those entering the country after October 31

In a bid to tighten immigration rules EU criminals who have been jailed for a year or more are expected to be barred from entry to the UK. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is drawing up tougher regulations. AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
In a bid to tighten immigration rules EU criminals who have been jailed for a year or more are expected to be barred from entry to the UK. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is drawing up tougher regulations. AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS

EU migrants with criminal pasts could be stopped from entering the UK after Brexit in tough new measures being drawn up.

It comes after the UK's new prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the UK would not "become hostile to immigration," but it would be "democratically controlled".

In a bid to tighten immigration rules EU criminals who have been jailed for a year or more are expected to be barred from entry to the UK.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that "tougher criminality rules" for those coming to the UK will be introduced.

"Freedom of movement as it currently stands will end on 31 October when the UK leaves the EU," she said.

"After Brexit the government will introduce a new, fairer immigration system that prioritises skills and what people can contribute to the UK, rather than where they come from."

Freedom of movement will end overnight on October 31 in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

EU citizens currently living in the UK have until December 2020 to apply for the right to remain.

On Monday evening, Mr Johnson made new demands on the European Union to reopen Brexit negotiations in a letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council.

The bloc and its leaders have repeatedly refused to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes a protocol on the Irish border "backstop" that then-prime minister Theresa May agreed in November.

In his opening bid to the EU ahead of meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, Mr Johnson wrote a four-page letter to Mr Tusk setting out his demands and sparking a new war of words.

"I propose that the backstop should be replaced with a commitment to put in place (alternative) arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period, as part of the future relationship," Mr Johnson wrote. "Time is very short."

He wants to see "anti-democratic" provisions for the Irish border scrapped and is calling for an end to the so-called backstop.

It would keep Britain closely aligned with the European customs union if the two sides can't agree on other ways to prevent the reintroduction of border checks on people and goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Tusk hit back as he rejected Mr Johnson's request, saying that "those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border."

Following an hour-long call on Monday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told Mr Johnson that the Brexit deal would not be renegotiated.

Updated: August 20, 2019 05:50 PM

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