Government Calls In Experts To Examine EU Migrants’ Role In UK
GOVERNMENT CALLS IN EXPERTS TO EXAMINE EU MIGRANTS’ ROLE IN UK
Experts will be called in to launch a major assessment of migration from the
European Union as the Government steps up its efforts to devise a
post-Brexit immigration system.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd will commission the Migration Advisory Committee
(MAC) to carry out a detailed analysis of the role of EU nationals in the UK
economy and society.
The in-depth study will focus on patterns of migration from Europe,
considering factors including regional distribution, skill levels and
Writing in the Financial Times, Ms Rudd said any new post-Brexit immigration
system must work in everyone’s interest.
She said: “Put simply, the UK must remain a hub for international talent.
We must keep attracting the brightest and best migrants from around the
“I want to reassure all those who have outlined their views … that the
Government is listening and that we share their desire to continue to
welcome those who help make the UK such a prosperous place to live.”
Advisers will be tasked with examining issues such as the economic and
social costs and benefits of EU migration, and the potential impact of any
fall in arrivals from the bloc.
The committee will be asked to report back by September next year – seven
months before the scheduled date for Britain’s formal departure in March
It will be invited to produce interim reports before giving its final
findings, as officials attempt to draw up a regime that incorporates an end
to free movement while ensuring any fall in overseas labour does not damage
Writing to Professor Alan Manning, chairman of the MAC, the Home Secretary
will say that under a future system “we will be able to apply different
immigration rules and requirements according to the UK’s economic and social
The MAC will be asked to examine:
:: The current patterns of European Economic Area (EEA) migration, including
which sectors are most reliant on EU labour;
:: The economic and social costs and benefits of EU migration to the UK
:: The potential impact of a reduction in EU migration and the ways in which
both business and the Government could adjust to this change;
:: The current impact of immigration, from both EU and non-EU countries, on
the competitiveness of UK industry and skills and training;
:: Whether there is any evidence that the availability of unskilled labour
has led to low UK investment in certain sectors;
:: If there are advantages to focusing migrant labour on high-skilled jobs.
Josh Hardie, deputy director general of business organisation the CBI,
welcomed the move as a “sensible first step”, saying the review will be
“vital” to address longer-term questions.
“Businesses urgently need to know what a new system will look like – during
transition and afterwards,” he said.
But ministers faced questions over the gap between the referendum in June
last year and the request to the MAC.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey said: “The Government
needs to explain why this study wasn’t commissioned a year ago, directly
after the referendum.
“The NHS, businesses and universities that depend on European citizens need
answers now, not in another 14 months’ time.”
As well as the MAC’s work, talks will be held across sectors including
business, industry, trade unions and educational institutions in the coming
Official statistics show net long-term migration for EU citizens – the
balance between arrivals and departures – was running at an estimated
133,000 last year, a fall of more than a quarter on 2015.
Overall international net migration, including from outside the EU, was also
down at 248,000 in 2016, although the measure remains well above the
Government’s target of below 100,000.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “This is a
very welcome step.
“While the contribution of many EU migrants has clearly enriched the UK,
recent polls have also highlighted how strongly the public feel about the
need to control and reduce immigration.
“The MAC’s guidance will be vital in helping to ensure that this is done in
a sensible and practical way.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was not aware of the new report but
believed in “the value of immigration and the value of having an open
approach to it”.
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney during a visit to Australia, Mr
Johnson said: “As a society, as a city of London, we benefited massively
from having talent come to our shores. We benefit from a large Australian
population, we had 400,000 French people living in London when I was mayor.
“It is fantastic for the energy and dynamism of the economy … That doesn’t
mean you can’t control it. That is all I think people want to see.
“They want to see their politicians taking responsibility, explaining the
policy, explaining what they are trying to do, explaining who can come in on
what basis and why it’s good for the economy.”
He added: “I think there are things we could do to reduce some aspects of
immigration whilst keeping a posture that is open and attractive to talent.
“I would be very, very surprised if any report says otherwise.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “There is far too much heat and not
enough light about immigration, so any truly objective and well-informed
analysis must be welcome.
“We already know that immigrants, both EU and non-EU, make a huge
contribution to the economy and to wider society. They occupy both
high-skilled, high-wage jobs and lower-skilled, lower-paid ones, adding
value across a wide range of economic sectors. They help make the UK more
internationally competitive, and sectors with staff shortages, such as the
NHS, social care and agriculture, would be in serious difficulty without
“The report should be published. There must be no repeat of the buried Home
Office reports into international students, or the Saudi funding of
terrorism. And there should be no attempt to reform the immigration system
until the report has been published and debated.”