Election win gives Conservatives mandate on migration policies

12 May 15

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The election victory by the Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, allows Conservatives wider latitude to pursue stricter migration policies.

What does the change mean? The Conservative immigration platform aims to lower net annual immigration to “tens of thousands” of migrants, set caps on non-EU migrants, impose a four-year waiting period before new migrants can claim housing and other social benefits, and deport EU migrants who do not have a job within six months.

Immigration policy may also be one of the first issues to expose rifts between the U.K. and the European Union. On Wednesday, the European Commission is expected to unveil a migration plan for the Mediterranean refugee crisis that will introduce quotas for member countries to share absorption of refugees and require the U.K. to accept up to 65,000 refugees, more than double its current number – a measure that the new government is certain to fight. Cameron has promised a referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU and, while the U.K.’s exit from the bloc is unlikely, Cameron’s vow to renegotiate the terms of U.K. membership could entail greater U.K. curbs on migrants from the EU.

Business impact: On the business side, the government is likely to continue in the current direction of recent policies that have tightened Tier 2 sponsorship requirements and introduced a host of measures that generally make it more costly and restrictive for companies to recruit and retain foreign workers.

BAL Analysis: Employers and foreign employees should expect at least a continuation of current policies by the new government and perhaps even broader-ranging measures that could further restrict the number of foreign workers or otherwise hamper the ability of companies to hire foreign workers in the U.K.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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