Low-skilled workers would not get visas under post-Brexit immigration plans unveiled by the government.
It is urging employers to “move away” from relying on “cheap labour” from Europe and invest in retaining staff and developing automation technology.
The Home Office said EU and non-EU citizens coming to the UK would be treated equally after UK-EU free movement ends on 31 December.
Labour said the “hostile environment” will make it hard to attract workers.
But Home Secretary Priti Patel said the new system was about bringing “the brightest and the best” to the UK.
She told BBC Breakfast the government wants to “encourage people with the right talent” and “reduce the levels of people coming to the UK with low skills”.
She added that the system would “make sure that we have a high-skilled, highly trained and highly productive economy in the future”.