The British Government is to launch a major immigration study to assess the impact losing EU migrants would have on the economy in the wake of Brexit.
The immigration study, which has been commissioned by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, will weigh up the current cost and benefits of EU migrants to the UK. It will also study current migration trends and assess the impact of a cut in numbers.
That the government has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake such a study, provides the clearest hint yet that the current freedom of movement pact between the UK and other EU nations will be scrapped once Brexit takes place.
“We will ensure we continue to attract those who benefit us economically, socially and culturally,” said Ms Rudd upon announcing the immigration study. “But, at the same time, our new immigration system will give us control of the volume of people coming here – giving the public confidence we are applying our own rules on who we want to come to the UK and helping us to bring down net migration to sustainable levels.”
The Conservative government has long pledged to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000. Last year 248,000 more people entered the UK permanently than left.
However, the Home Secretary has stressed that whatever new immigration system is introduced, British employers who hire EU workers will not be left hanging. “There will be an implementation period when the UK leaves the EU to ensure there is no ‘cliff edge’ for employers or EU nationals in the UK,” she stated.
As part of the immigration study, the Migrant Advisory Committee has been asked to look at the following range of issues:
– The current patterns of EEA (European Economic Area) migration, including which sectors rely most on EU labour.
– The economic and social costs and benefits of EU migration to the British economy.
– The potential impact of a reduction in EU migration and the ways in which both business and the government could adjust to this change.
– The current impact of immigration, from both EU and non-EU countries, on the competitiveness of British industry and skills and training.
– Whether there is any evidence that the availability of unskilled labour has led to low UK investment in certain sectors.
– If there are advantages to focussing migrant labour on high-skilled jobs
The organisation is expected to report back on its findings in September 2018.
Article published 27th July 2017