In early September, an 82-page document was leaked detailing the UK government’s thoughts on migration after Brexit. The Home Office paper was leaked to The Guardian and details ways in which the number of low-skilled migrants from Europe will be driven down once the UK has left the EU. A new immigration system is then due to be phased in, focusing on putting British voters first. Should these leaked immigration plans be correct, then they will have a big impact on the UK in the future.
The document details how the UK government will end the free movement of labour immediately after leaving the EU and that a strict immigration policy will be introduced. Various phases will be run through as plans are rolled out after March 2019 to enforce the new immigration plans. These include the introduction of a new immigration bill before Brexit, at least a two-year implementation period afterwards and a final phase where tough rules are enforced.
However, these plans also introduce many questions and worries as well as setting out some clear objectives. There are questions as to why it has been leaked and who by, along with whether it threatens Britain’s place in staying close to the single market post-Brexit.
For EU nationals, the leaked plans seem to mean that only the highest-skilled workers will be able to get permits for over two years. This could be in an effort to cut down on low-skilled migration from Europe and would affect many UK businesses relying on such employees.
Residency for partners, children under 18 and adult dependent relatives of EU nationals working in the UK will be the only ones who will qualify as family members under new UK laws. Income thresholds may also be introduced before EU citizens can move to Britain too. Employers of existing EU nationals will need to monitor any changes and remain aware of their legal rights when employing EU workers in the future.
Businesses in and around Paisley that employ both high and low-skilled EU workers may find a shortage in the years after Brexit if these plans are pushed through. This could mean more opportunities for British workers in the region, as long as there is a demand for such jobs. If it affects the UK’s access and closeness to the single market then this could impact on such businesses as well.
In the coming weeks and months the full plans for immigration post-Brexit are bound to be released, but these leaked documents look likely to provide a good indication of what’s to come.