Yesterday a Home Office document leaked to the Guardian revealed proposals that a new immigration system will end the right of EU nationals to settle in Britain (free movement) and restrict their rights to bring in family members. Europeans will need to carry temporary biometric residence permits which are a form of ID card.
According to the Guardian, work visas for EU nationals would be limited to two years if they were considered “low skilled” migrants and three to five years if they were “highly skilled.” You can read the full document here.
At this stage, these are proposals only which will have to be agreed by ministers and the EU but they reveal a worrying trend. They are part of a policy to put British residents first.
Brighton MP Caroline Lucas said: “The Government’s post-Brexit immigration crackdown isn’t just economically illiterate, it’s plainly cruel too.
“Ministers know that ending free movement will damage the British economy – yet they are ploughing ahead regardless. Now they’re also planning draconian rules on family members of EU nationals and harsh income requirements too.
“Britain has benefited from freedom of movement and from the enormous contribution of EU nationals.”
To introduce these harsh new migration rules for people coming from the continent is a profound mistake, and one I will be fighting at every turn.”
Leader of the Lib Dems Vince Cable said: “When I was Business Secretary there were up to nine studies that we looked at that took in all the academic evidence.
“It showed that immigration had very little impact on wages or employment. But this was suppressed by the Home Office under Theresa May, because the results were inconvenient.
“I remember it vividly. Overwhelmingly it has been the case that overseas workers have been complimentary rather than competitive to British workers.
“The exodus of trades people, NHS staff and tech industry workers shows the potential damage of an extreme Brexit.”
Paul Chandler, agent for the Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats backed up Mrs Lucas saying: “This leaked proposal just proves how difficult it will be to find a fair, humane and workable alternative to freedom of movement.
“It’s a truly horrible dog’s dinner of a proposal that will be expensive to administer, widely abused and ineffective.”