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Brexit: Labour market threat or opportunity?


The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee is conducting an inquiry into the expected impact of Brexit on the UK labour market and is seeking the view of businesses across the UK as well as experts in this field.

The Prime Minister has expressed concern about the effect of uncontrolled migration on people on low incomes and indicated that she wishes to control migration from inside and outside the EU. Some businesses are anxious about these controls. The Committee will examine the competing claims about the reliance of the UK economy on migrant labour.

Lord Hollick, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, said:

“Net migration last year was 335,000 – more than half of it was from EU countries. The Government is committed to reducing this figure and leaving the EU will allow it to reshape its immigration policy, but what is the right approach?

“We are looking to understand what the impact of Brexit will be on the labour market and whether this is a threat or an opportunity to the UK's economy.

"For our inquiry to be effective we need to hear as many views and experiences as possible. Written evidence will play an important role in informing our work and I would encourage anyone with knowledge, or an interest in this area, to return a submission by 20 February 2017."

The Committee is inviting written evidence on the any or all of the following issues:

  1. What level of net migration is necessary for the UK labour market to function effectively? 

    a. How reliant is the UK labour market on high, medium or low skilled migrant labour? What would be the impact of a reduced ability to source foreign workers on British businesses?

    b.Which particular sectors or sub-sectors would be affected by controls on EU migration and further controls on non-EU migration?

  2. What would be the impact on wages, in different sectors, of controls on EU migration and further controls on non-EU migration? What evidence is there of the impact on wages of the level of immigration (from EU and non-EU countries) to date?

  3. Does the Government have adequate data on the number and characteristics of immigrant workers on which future assumptions and policy can be based?

    a. If there are deficiencies in the data, what changes are required to improve it?

    b. How should the labour market impact of particular restrictions on migration be measured?

  4. Is there a case for regional variation in immigration policy?

  5. How successful have policies to control the level of migration from non-EU countries been? Are any changes required if these controls are extended to migrants from EU countries?

  6. What lessons can the UK draw from the experience of other countries?

Written evidence should be submitted online using the written submission form available here. This page also provides guidance on submitting evidence.

The deadline for written evidence is 20 February 2017.

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