New immigration rules will be in place by 1 January, 2021, if the Tories win the election, Boris Johnson has said.
The PM said the Australian-style points system was among “immediate steps” to be introduced within a year of Brexit.
He said being free of EU rules would make it easier to give state aid to UK industries in trouble and bring in “buy British” guidelines for public bodies.
Labour has said the PM’s timetable is misleading and his hope of agreeing an EU trade deal next year is unrealistic.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said the Conservatives’ new-found focus on state aid “sticks in his throat” given what he said was their unwillingness to support industry in the past.
At a news conference in Westminster, the PM warned about the risk of there being no clear winner in the 12 December election, saying this would result in “another broken Parliament” and the Brexit “deadlock” being perpetuated.
Earlier on Friday, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was hoping for another hung parliament, with her party holding the balance of power.
Mr Johnson has guaranteed that if the Conservatives win a working majority then the UK will leave the EU by 31 January at the latest.
Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, free movement from the EU will continue for 11 months after Brexit during a transition period.
Mr Johnson said a new system would be in place when the current rules end on 31 December 2020.
The PM wanted to set out not just the timescale for leaving the EU but what he saw as the benefits of Brexit for voters
While the Conservatives were once the party of free trade, Boris Johnson donned the cloak of protectionism by outlining a new post-brexit state aid regime.
And he said public bodies would be encouraged to adopt a “Buy British” policy to boost local economies. Critics say these measures would impede attempts to strike a trade deal with the EU.
Mr Johnson also declined to say that no-deal preparations would be stood down but expressed confidence a trade agreement would be struck by the end of next year.
With Gisela Stuart standing next to him, politically Boris Johnson wants to highlight differences with Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit,
“The government will take steps to ensure that the Australian-style points-based system is in place by 1 January 2021,” he said.
“By lowering the number of unskilled immigrants, the system will remove a major force that puts a downward pressure on people’s wages and reduce the overall level of immigration.”
As part of what he said was “Brexit roadmap” designed to show voters the benefits of leaving the EU, he said a re-elected Conservative government would take “immediate steps” to introduce new rules to take effect after the transition period is due to finish at the end of 2020.
These would include a new state aid regime to help industries in trouble, scrapping VAT on sanitary products and promoting a “buy British” rule for public bodies to help farmers.
The Conservatives say current EU rules on state aid are bureaucratic and inflexible, citing the difficulties the UK had in getting emergency financial for Tata Steel’s UK business in 2012.
The PM said his aim was not to bail out failing business but to ensure a “level-playing field” for industry.
Mr Johnson said only a Conservative victory would lift the country out of its “political morass” and “deliver the change that people voted for by getting Brexit done”.
Appearing alongside the PM, former Labour minister Gisela Stuart said she would be voting Conservative and urged other traditional Labour voters to do the same if they wanted to see Brexit delivered.
Ms Stuart, who stood down at the 2017 election, was the most senior Labour figure in the Vote Leave referendum campaign.
“In this election, I will not vote for Jeremy Corbyn but I can vote for Brexit,” she said. “A vote for Boris Johnson this time around is a vote to get Brexit done, But let me be clear, voting for Brexit this time does not make me a Tory now or in the future.”
But Mr McDonald said the Conservatives had “sat on their hands and used state aid as an excuse” when refusing to intervene to save a steel works in his Teesside constituency in 2015.