28 Jul 2017

Claire Best, Associate, comments on the new immigration system which is expected to be in place in March 2019.

"Immigration was one of the key topics during the referendum campaign in June 2016. Concern and confusion have been mounting in the 13 months that have followed the vote in favour of Brexit, not least amongst EU citizens living in the UK but also amongst employers, who face uncertainty about the position with regard to the ending of EU free movement and the knock on effect this will inevitably have on the labour market post Brexit.

"On 27 July it was announced that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd,  had asked the Government's independent advisers on migration, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), to carry out a year-long comprehensive assessment of the role of EU citizens in the UK economy. In particular, MAC have been asked to consider the current regional distribution of EU migrants and which sectors are most reliant on migrant workers. A detailed report is expected by September 2018, just six months before Brexit. Only once that report has been produced and debated will the Government be finalising its policy on EU migration. The Home Secretary has promised businesses there will be no "cliff edge" on immigration but this is no doubt still going to be too close for comfort for many, and questions are likely to be asked why this could not have been assessed sooner. 

"Having said that, the commissioning of this report is a positive and welcome step to try and establish how the UK's new immigration system should be aligned to meet the needs of a post Brexit UK economy. MAC will be carrying out a call for evidence. Interested employers should look out for this and respond."