Another delay over post-Brexit immigration policy

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid will not release the government's post-Brexit immigration policy until after parliment votes on May's Brexit deal drawing criticism from MPs on all sides.

EU and UK immigration sign at an airport
It is "very unlikely" that the UK's post-Brexit immigration policy, which was supposed to be published more than a year ago, will be revealed until after MPs have voted next week on the nation's withdrawal agreement with the European Union, Home Secretary Sajid Javid admitted on Monday.The admission angered MPs and reflected disagreements among cabinet ministers over both the shape and scale of the new policy.

Senior cabinet ministers want to abandon net migration pledge

Mr Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark are all believed to want the government to abandon its long-standing pledge to bring down net migration - currently running at about 270,000 a year - to below 100,000.Prime Minister Theresa May, however, appears committed to the target.To achieve this ambitious goal, Mrs May reportedly wants strict curbs of "low-skilled migration" (effectively, immigrants with jobs paying less than £30,000 a year) while her cabinet colleagues, along with many in business, fear this could cripple economic activity.

Delays to immigration white paper

Mr Javid, who had previously said he hoped the immigration white paper would be published before the crucial December 11 vote on the withdrawal agreement, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday: "It's unlikely, actually very unlikely, to be published before the vote. It will be published soon."This is the biggest change in our immigration system in over four decades - the most significant change we're going to see in immigration as we take control of our immigration system, so it's important that we work on the details, that we listen to people, to businesses and others and we get the details right."In a statement, he said that Brexit would enable the government to restore public confidence in immigration policies through the introduction of a skills-based system, which will come into effect at the end of the Brexit transition period, currently scheduled for the end of 2020.

Ending free movement is a key aim of Brexit 

"It is a simple fact that EU free movement rules mean the politicians they elect have no control over who comes here from Europe and how many," he said."Leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to change this. That's why ending free movement and control of our borders has been a key aim in our Brexit negotiations."The deal secured delivers that. We will be able to introduce a skills-based immigration system, based on what people can offer, not where they come from."However, the latest delay has raised the ire of MPs.
Follow the link for official communication on the UK Government's Brexit Deal.

MPs argue immigration white paper is necessary to a meaningful vote

Chris Green, the Conservative MP for Bolton West, tweeted, “A healthy democracy, our laws, our money and our trade are key parts of why people chose to leave the EU. So was controlling our borders, but the government is publishing the immigration white paper after the withdrawal vote. It seems a little odd.”Sir Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton, said the details were required for next week's vote to be meaningful.“Brexit and immigration: shocking and unacceptable for Sajid Javid to admit the immigration white paper will not be published before the Brexit vote,” he said.“For a meaningful vote, MPs need to know what might happen to immigration if we leave.”Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said the delay meant "yet more government policy won’t be revealed until after our vote", adding, "It’s not good enough - another reason to add to the growing list for a people’s vote."

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