The UK plans to double the number of visas it issues to workers from the European Union on a temporary basis after Brexit, with the main beneficiaries being employees from Spain, Poland and the other EU countries that are in the single market.
The changes to the immigration system mean that EU citizens will be able to remain for up to three years after leaving the UK, which marks a major victory for Theresa May, the prime minister, who has been pressuring Brussels to agree to a transitional period after Brexit.
Ms. May has said she wants to help address the shortage of workers in some areas of the economy, pointing to a “significant gap in skilled labour in certain areas of the economy,” such as those with skills in areas such as care, education and hospitality.
But the extra visas were also included to give the Conservatives something to point to if negotiations to leave the European Union fall apart.
The United Kingdom wants to ease the work visa requirements for professionals from countries like Spain, Ireland and Italy, because the UK estimates that it needs 10,500 such visas a year.
The changes to the immigration rules are part of a wider package Ms. May will outline at a conference in Bournemouth later on Wednesday.
The programme will also include plans to extend the Tier 2 visa system for skilled professionals from outside the EU.
When this scheme was introduced in 2015, the UK said it was aiming to support 2,000 visas a year and target professionals from India, China and Nigeria.
Ms. May is hoping the measures will encourage Britons who have jobs abroad to return to the UK and take up new roles.
The scheme will see £10,000 ($13,000) paid by each employer to each applicant and no charge for applicants applying for Tier 2, as long as they spend at least 10% of their income in the UK.
Employers will also be able to sponsor “high value” workers from other countries.
The new powers allow the Home Office to make a finding that brings applications before or after their expiry date, rather than turning down them for reasons of the applicant’s immigration status.
Separately, all Tier 1 visa workers and high-skilled worker visa applicants will be required to be based in the UK for at least half of their working days, while refusing “undesirable” applicants a “non-working grounds for refusal.”
The move will provide greater protection for high-skilled workers.
The visa-visa process is scheduled to start on March 1, 2021, the day after the UK leaves the EU, and will be managed by the Home Office.
Britain will continue to grant Tier 1 visas to workers from outside the EU after March 2019, in order to continue to attract and attract the “highly skilled” workers in the country.
Around 60,000 applicants are thought to have made applications a year on current conditions.
Similar in a sense to the existing Graduate National Gradation Programme, jobseekers applying through the Tier 1 visa can be placed in the skilled category, which means they can work in the country for up to eight years after gaining qualifications and any post-study fees must be paid in sterling and have a qualifying degree.
In a parallel, similar to a scheme introduced last month, it is expected that the UK will give thousands of new visas to EU citizens already in the country.
Mr. May’s office said they were not announcing an increase in overall immigration numbers, but that it would bring down the numbers from Europe, as well as increasing the amount being issued to EU nationals already in the country.
The prime minister also plans to create a program in five years which will give workers from outside the EU access to the country.
The move is part of an immigration reform blueprint to be unveiled in Bournemouth.