New immigration rules will be “simple and flexible”, ministers have promised, as the UK’s points-based post-Brexit system prepares to go live.
From Tuesday all foreign nationals, including from the European Union, who want to work in the UK from 1 January will have to apply online for a visa.
Those seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer, to be proficient in English and earn at least £25,600.
Free movement from and to the EU will come to an end on 31 December.
The UK left the EU on 31 January but has been largely following its rules during the subsequent 11-month transition period, as the two sides try to reach agreement over a trade deal.
As talks continue in London, the UK is stepping up its preparations for leaving the EU’s single market and customs union at the end of the year.
The government has announced it is setting up a new Border Operations Centre, which it says will ensure round-the-clock surveillance of goods and passengers coming in and out of British ports for the first time.
Cutting-edge software will be used to gather information about the flow of goods and passengers in the hope of minimising the amount of “short-term” disruption at the border in the days and weeks after 1 January.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the new system, which will be manned 24/7, would enable the authorities to identify and get on top of bottlenecks “quickly and decisively”.