European Union workers will have to secure a skilled job before coming to work in the UK after Brexit, the Home Secretary is expected to promise.
Under government plans, tourists and students from the EU will still have free access in order to help trade negotiations with Brussels, but the tens of thousands of unskilled migrant workers who come to Britain each year will be denied access.
The Mail reports that the plan was put to a Cabinet sub-committee on Wednesday by Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
“There was a strong consensus that this was the only way to go,” an insider reportedly said. “Ministers agreed that work will continue to see if there is an alternative.
“The reality, though, is that this is the only option that is going to work in the long term and that will deliver what the public voted for – which is proper control of our borders.”
In return, officials expect the EU to impose similar restrictions on Brits travelling to work in the bloc, but those visiting as tourists will be unaffected.
Provision will also be made for the self-employed to settle in the UK, provided they can demonstrate they are skilled and self-sufficient.
The policy is the latest migration pledge made by Ms Rudd, who backed Remain in the referendum, but is now trying to demonstrate her credentials as being tough on immigration.
It comes less than a week after the government was forced into an embarrassing climb down after appearing to indicate that firms would have to list or name their foreign workers.
In her speech at the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham, Ms Rudd indicated that firms who wish to employ workers from outside the UK should be made to list how many of their staff are foreign, and show they had done enough to hire local workers first.
After an outcry from big business, however, ministers said her words had been taken out of context.
“Let me absolutely confirm that is not going to happen, we are not going to ask companies to list or name or identify their foreign workers,” Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.
Education Secretary Justine Greening added there would be “absolutely no naming and shaming” of companies.