No Brexit visas for EU visitors to UK but quotas for workers

What will EU based immigration to the UK look like post-Brexit? New reports today suggest that citizens from EU countries will not require visas, but a new regime will be announced later this year for workers.

EU citizens migrating to the UK may require a visa when applying to work post-Brexit
The UK will allow citizens from European Union countries to visit Britain after Brexit without having to obtain visas, but anyone planning to come to work will be subject to a new immigration regime, according to media reports.Based on briefings from Whitehall sources, the reports said the new rules would not allow visitors to stay indefinitely. The sources also denied a report in The Times suggesting a new migration system for skilled EU workers would not be based on quotas but, rather, on one involving a set number of work permits for different employment sectors.

Post-Bexit immigration control plans imminent for 2017

The government will announce its post-Brexit immigration controls later this year and is under pressure from business groups not to do anything that would curb the abilities of employers to hire the EU staff, particularly those with much-needed skills.Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of the pressure group Migration Watch UK, welcomed the idea of a work permit system. He told the BBC, “The point is that a work permit system for EU workers would lead, in due course, to a massive decrease in net migration from the EU as low-paid workers – who comprise some 80 per cent of the inflow are squeezed out. The reduction could, by our calculation, be about 100,000 a year.”He said enforcement could be done through employers but the government would have to spend more money on a “crackdown” on illegal immigration, something he said was “increasingly necessary” in any case.Meanwhile, a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of EU nationals working in the UK reached a new high in the second quarter of the year, although there had been a marked slowdown in arrivals since last year’s referendum on membership of the bloc.
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By the end of Q2, there were an estimated 2.37 million people from elsewhere in the EU working in Britain, an increase of 126,000 on a year earlier. Matt Hughes, senior labour market statistician at the ONS, said, “The number of workers born elsewhere in the EU continues to increase, but the annual rate of change has slowed markedly.”The data also revealed that the total of non-EU nationals working in the UK fell by 18,000 to 1.2 million over the year. The proportion of non-UK nationals in the workforce has risen from 3.5 per cent to 11.1 per cent in just over 20 years.

Immigration from the EU continues

Within the figures for EU workers, different trends were evident on arrivals from different countries. There were, for instance, just over one million nationals of 14 long-term member states – including Germany, Italy, Spain and France – working in the UK, representing an increase from 947,000 on June 2016, when the referendum was held.There was also a rise in the number of Romanian and Bulgarian workers (to 337,000) but a drop of 11,000 (to 997,000) in employees from the so-called EUA8 countries which joined the union in 2004: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.A Home Office spokesman said, “The government is working to ensure that the domestic labour force has the skills it needs to fill jobs in the UK labour market and these figures show that more UK nationals are in employment than ever before.“Non-UK citizens currently resident in the UK make a vital contribution both to our economy and our society but we remain committed to bringing net migration levels down to sustainable levels.“As we conduct our EU exit negotiations, we must ensure we can control the number of people coming to the UK from the EU and build an immigration system that works for everyone.”
Read David Sapsted's article on Establishing Right to Remain – which discusses the uncertainty over immigration which the UK faces following Brexit – in the Summer 2017 issue of Relocate Magazine.
For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.

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