Government responds to Brexit: UK-EU movement of people report
18 January 2018
The Government has responded to the report of the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee on Brexit: UK-EU movement of people.
The Committee's report examines the possible arrangements for migration of EU citizens to the UK after the UK has left the EU with a view to identifying the main choices available to the Government and their likely implications – including for UK citizens wishing to move to the EU in future.
The Committee's main conclusions included:
- The Government says it will be pursuing a "two-way agreement" with the EU regarding future migration flows. We support this objective, and judge that offering preferential treatment to EU nationals compared to non-EU nationals in the UK's future immigration regime could increase the likelihood of securing reciprocal preferential treatment for UK nationals in the EU. It could also improve the prospects of achieving the UK's objectives on access to the Single Market. In view of the read-across to these other goals, we consider it vital that the Government should not close off policy options on future regulation of EU immigration ahead of negotiations with the EU-27.
- The unanimous view of the public and private sector employers' groups from whom we took evidence was that the Government should not apply the UK's non-EU work permit system to EU nationals. They warned that this would disproportionately affect some employers' ability to sponsor EU workers, and could result in labour shortages.
- We recommend that the Government focus on improving its evidence base before further entrenching the skills-based immigration policy that the UK already operates in respect of non-EU nationals.
- The restoration of national control over EU migration may or may not deliver a reduction in overall net migration. We note that until June 2016, net migration to the UK from outside the EU was consistently higher than EU migration, even though the relevant policy levers are already under national control.
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