One of the many questions around immigration and Brexit is how the UK will treat incoming EU migrants once we leave the EU. The Migration Advisory Committee has now put forward its recommendations to the Government, largely basing its advice on the points-system that’s currently in place.
The Committee’s report makes several key recommendations:
While the recommendations are clearly laid out, many have criticised the report. Somewhat controversially, the committee found that the impact of high-skilled migration is more beneficial than lower skills – and that seems to be where their main focus lies.
One big factor is that the report ignores the importance of a route that allows employers to access low-skilled workers from Europe, as they’ll need to register as sponsors before doing so – meaning onerous reporting duties and minimum skill and salary levels. This will have a negative impact on industries like leisure and hospitality, where EEA workers perform essential (albeit not highly skilled) roles. The recommendations have also raised questions about the Home Office’s resources, and how it’ll cope with the introduction of EEA migrants into Tier 2.
Seemingly in line with the Committee’s recommendations, the Government has now announced its proposal to treat EEA migrants the same as non-EEA migrants post-Brexit. But, this is not set in stone and lacks finer detail – the extent to which the current system is extended to EEA migrations may be a point conceded by Theresa May in ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Although the Government usually takes the Committee’s immigration policy recommendations on board, it doesn’t have to. Its response to this report will depend on the ongoing Brexit negotiations, and it’s likely that it’ll publish a White Paper setting out its intentions shortly.