London: British leadership hopeful Boris Johnson pledged Thursday to introduce a new points-based system to control migration after Brexit, addressing a key issue from the EU referendum but not explicitly promising to cut numbers. He also vowed to protect the rights of more than three million EU citizens currently living in Britain, even if the country leaves the bloc with no deal on October 31. Johnson is vying with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to take over as prime minister from Theresa May, who quit over her failure to take Britain out of the European Union on time. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London In his first detailed policy announcement, the former foreign minister and ex-London mayor vowed to introduce a points-based immigration system modelled on that of Australia. Broadly, these kind of systems allow in migrants who meet certain criteria such as qualifications, occupation and language skills. “We must be much more open to high-skilled immigration such as scientists,” Johnson said. “But we must also assure the public that, as we leave the EU, we have control over the number of unskilled immigrants coming into the country. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador “We must be tougher on those who abuse our hospitality. Other countries such as Australia have great systems and we should learn from them.” Johnson was a leader of the campaign to leave the EU during the 2016 referendum, and a key promise was to “take back control” of Britain’s borders. While it remains a member of the EU, Britain is subject to rules allowing the free movement of workers around the bloc. May’s government says EU and non-EU migrants should be treated the same after Brexit — an approach Johnson backs — but is still consulting on the details of a new system. May has however rejected a strictly points-based system, saying it allowed in anyone who met the criteria, providing no control over numbers. And campaign group Migration Watch UK criticised Johnson for not promising migration would fall. “There is no mention whatever of reducing net migration, let alone how it might be achieved,” said group chairman Lord Andrew Green. For non-Europeans, Britain currently has a complicated system of visas based on skills, minimum salary requirements, the need for a job offer, and in some areas has a numbers cap. Johnson said the government’s independent advisory committee would thrash out the details of his policy, to be introduced from 2021. But he said would-be migrants should have a firm job offer, speak English and be vetted, and any system should be “fair to people living here”.
Rob Livesey, the union’s vice-president in Scotland, said: “It is essential that Scottish agriculture is not negatively affected by this decision and its implementation, and NFU Scotland will continue to work with its members who are concerned, and whose land has been impacted by beavers.”Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners, said the decision established a pragmatic and rational approach, adding that it was unlikely the government was ever going to advocate removing all beavers from Tayside.A spokesman said the group was pleased the announcement accepted the need for lethal and non-lethal management.Ms Cunningham said the mammal, which fells trees for food and to build dams, would be added to Scotland’s list of protected species as soon as possible.She added that it would remain an offence to release them without licence, punishable by up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.The Scottish Government said management techniques, up to and including lethal control, were permitted under EU habitats regulations “subject to there being no other satisfactory solution”.They are managed in Europe to prevent damage to low lying agricultural land, forestry and fisheries.The partners in the Scottish Beaver Trial in Knapdale, Argyll, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said the move was a major success story for conservation.They added that there should now be more releases in coming years. If they are not controlled then you can say goodbye to centuries of arable farmingJohn Mackay, an Angus potato grower Around 500 years after they were hunted to extinction, Eurasian beavers are to be given formal protection and allowed to remain in the Scottish countryside.The Scottish Government has announced that they can stay where they are as it confirmed that the Eurasian beaver will become the first mammal to be officially reintroduced to the UK.The decision affects a small group of beavers that were the subject of a reintroduction trial in Argyll, and an estimated 200 animals living on the wild on Tayside after illegal releases.The controversial rodents, which have caused widespread damage to farmland in some parts of Scotland, will now be allowed to extend their range naturally. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Roseanna Cunningham, the environment minister, said the species would have to be actively managed, in line with practices in other European countries. This is likely to mean beavers being culled in some situations.However, farmers reacted angrily to the decision and warned that large areas of low lying arable land could be wiped out by flooding.Farmers in the Strathearn and Strathmore areas of Tayside have been calling for their eradication and have been forced to deal with damage to fields and flood banks as well as the destruction of drainage systems that are hundreds of years old.John Mackay, a potato grower in Angus, said the announcement was bad news and added that farmers must be allowed to continue removing beaver dams as soon as they start to appear.He warned some farmers are likely to cull animals before protection is in place and warned: “If they are not controlled then you can say goodbye to centuries of arable farming and you will have towns and villages hit by flooding in this area.”The National Farmers’ Union said proper management of the species, which was persecuted to extinction in the 16th century in Scotland, would be fundamental in order to avoid unacceptable impacts on agriculture.It called for detailed monitoring and “rapid interventions” to prevent and said any future illegal releases of beavers should be treated as a wildlife crime.