24/09/2019

Capital Law responds to new immigration policy proposals

Capital Law took part to the National Assembly for Wales consultation on Freedom of movement after Brexit – the implications for Wales, in partnership with Le Club (Wales-France business forum) and Acorn. Céline Jones summarises our response.

The past few weeks have been a political roller-coaster. Such instability makes taking part in consultations rather challenging: we can’t be sure that the White paper the National Assembly for Wales sought views on, published under Theresa May, remains policy of the current administration.

But the generalised lack of certainty is also precisely why we decided to respond. As people understandably refuse to take a gamble on their immigration status, the flow of people moving in and out of Wales is already slowing down. We warned that changes to the immigration policy would impact Wales socially, economically and diplomatically.

The proposals, likely to reduce the amount of people from the EU coming to Wales to live, will harm diversity and impact the quality of our social and educational services. Besides, many EU citizens who already live in the UK and have contributed to its economy for years, sometimes decades, are unhappy with the need to take an active step to legalise their stay in the UK.

New administrative hurdles will aggravate the skills shortage in key sectors like construction and make it harder for Welsh and EU businesses and branches to work together. That’s alarming, knowing that Germany and France are the two largest export markets for Welsh products.

Hopefully, devolved nations will be able to adapt the future immigration policy to some degree, to respond to their respective employment needs. But a serious conflict remains between the Welsh Government’s International Strategy, seeking to boost the Welsh economy through international trade, and the latest proposals on immigration.

As co-founder and Chair of Le Club, the only Wales France Business Forum, I have seen tremendous benefit from our relationship with the new Welsh Government office in Paris over the last twelve months. Together, we’ve organised various networking events in both France and Wales, creating an environment between the two countries in which businesses and international relations can thrive. It would be a shame to see these efforts overturned.

Read our full response here.

How we can help

If you’re working internationally – or would like to keep trading with either the UK or Europe – our Brexit team can advise you on everything you need to consider. Visit our dedicated page or get in touch with Marlies Hoecherl (m.hoecherl@capitallaw.co.uk) to find out more.