wednesday, 19 september of 2018


EU immigrants to UK after Brexit should not have special treatment: Report

EU immigrants to UK after Brexit should not have special treatment: Report

Britain should not give preferential treatment to citizens from the European Union in its post-Brexit immigration system, a report commissioned by the British government said on Tuesday (Sep 18).

Concerns about immigration were a key driver behind the 2016 Brexit vote. Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to end unrestricted freedom of movement when Britain leaves the bloc but has so far given little detail on what the rules will be.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent body which gives the government advice on migration, also said Britain should make it easier for higher-skilled workers to migrate than lower-skilled workers.

"We do not see compelling reasons to offer a different set of rules to EEA and non-EEA citizens unless the UK wishes to use migration in negotiations," the MAC said in a report commissioned by the government to assess the impact on the labour market of leaving the EU and to make recommendations for a post-Brexit immigration system.

Committee chair Alan Manning said the overall impact of EEA migration had been modest and that higher prices caused by the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote had likely had a bigger effect on Britons.

With just over six months until exit day, Britain is yet to reach a divorce deal with Brussels. If an agreement is reached, Britain and the EU have said that people will continue to be able to move, live and work on the same basis as now up until the end of a transition period in December 2020.

The MAC report recommended the cap on those coming to Britain under "Tier 2" visas, currently for skilled workers from outside the EEA, should be abolished and that it should be opened to medium-skilled jobs.

Net migration of EU nationals into Britain has already fallen markedly since the referendum, with official figures in August showing levels falling to their lowest since 2012 in the year to March.

The UK government has repeatedly failed to meet its aim of reducing annual net migration to below 100,000. Asked about having such a cap post-Brexit, MAC chair Manning said it was a political target rather than immigration policy.

"If you want to influence flows it is much better to vary things like the salary thresholds and the immigration skills charge than it is to have hard caps and quotas," he said.
(Published by Channel New Asia, September 18, 2018)

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