Brexit would not lower immigration, states report

A free market thinktank, Open Europe, has stated that a Brexit vote in June’s referendum would not necessarily lead to a decrease in immigration to the UK.

A report titled “Where next? A liberal, free market guide to Brexit,” pointed out that the EU freedom of movement pact is not the only factor causing high immigration to the UK. It argued that other large, developed economies with low unemployment tend to attract high levels of immigration, even though they are not in the EU.

The report noted Canada, Norway and Switzerland as examples of non-EU countries with high immigration levels – three countries which have been cited by pro-Brexit campaigners as managing successful immigration systems.

“We don’t think immigration is likely to be reduced that much outside the EU, despite the political pressure,” said the thinktank’s co-director Stephen Booth. “The UK is not alone in experiencing quite high levels of immigration.”

Demands from businesses for a flexible supply of labour, the need for an influx of younger workers to offset the challenge posed by an aging population and the effects of globalisation on migration flows mean immigrants’ people will keep coming to the UK, the organisation said. However, the report did not that the government could seek to boost the share of immigrants from outside the EU and focus more on skilled workers.

Clamping down on immigration is one of the central arguments of leave campaigners in the run-up to the 23 June referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU.

The latest ICM Poll places the ‘Out’ campaign three points in front of the ‘In’ campaign.

Article by David Fuller