Migration Advisory Committee commissioned for Brexit immigration study

27 Jul 17

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – HIGH

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to work with stakeholders to research and produce a report on the impact of Brexit on the U.K. labor market and to give its recommendations on how a future U.K. immigration system should be designed to best align with larger economic strategies.

The Home Office also issued a statement emphasizing that today’s commission does not affect EU and EEA citizens already living in the U.K. and confirmed that “EU citizens do not need to apply for documentation confirming their status now.”

In her letter to the MAC, Rudd also confirmed that the U.K. government will end free movement of EU/EEA nationals on Brexit day (in March of 2019) and reiterated the U.K.’s June 26 offer to the EU on the status of EU/EEA citizens’ rights – a phased approach that would set an eligibility cutoff date and a post-Brexit transition period before requiring EU/EEA nationals to apply for settled status. The rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. and vice versa were a key point in Brexit negotiations last week and the parties jointly issued a chart comparing  where they each stand on the issue.

The Home Office is seeking the MAC’s advice on a future immigration system after Brexit that will cover the migration of EU citizens.

The chair of the MAC, Professor Alan Manning, responded that the committee will put out a call for evidence from immigration stakeholders shortly to gather their input. A suggested deadline for the report has been set for September 2018, though there are concerns that this would not leave a sufficient amount of time before formal Brexit.

The MAC has been asked to provide advice and evidence on the following issues:

  • EU and EEA migration:
    • What are the current EU and EEA migration patterns to the U.K., by industry, regional distribution, skill levels, duration of assignments, self-employment/entrepreneur/part-time/seasonal work, and other relevant categories (from 2000 to the present, and potential future patterns if not regulated)?
    • How do U.K. employers recruit EU and EEA workers and how does this affect U.K. workers?
    • What are the economic and social costs and benefits of EU and EEA migration to the U.K., including fiscal impact on the U.K. economy, public services and infrastructure?
    • How would a future reduction in EU and EEA migration be felt across the U.K. economy and society, including a consideration of varying impact on different parts of the U.K.?
    • How could businesses adjust if EU and EEA migration were substantially reduced?
    • What type of actions could employers and government take and over what timeframe to mitigate the effects of reduced migration?
  • Future U.K. immigration system:
    • What is the current impact of immigration from the EU, EEA and non-EEA on the competitiveness of U.K. industry, including on productivity, innovation and labor market flexibility?
    • What impact does immigration have on skills and training?
    • Is there any evidence that the free availability of unskilled labor has contributed to the U.K.’s relatively low rate of investment in some sectors?
    • Are there advantages to focusing migrant labor on highly skilled jobs or across the entire skills spectrum?
    • Does the shortage occupation list need to be amended to include skills shortages at lower skills levels than the NQF6?
    • What lessons can be learned from the approach taken by other countries?

Background: The Migration Advisory Committee is an independent group of economic experts that periodically is commissioned to provide advice on government policy. The committee is expected to put out a call for evidence to immigration stakeholders shortly, take evidence, provide interim reports, and produce a final report and conclusions by September 2018.

BAL Analysis: The commissioning of the MAC and forthcoming call for evidence are welcome developments. BAL will be engaging with businesses and individuals on each of the above issues, and expects to submit a package of responses and recommendations to the MAC that highlights business concerns and needs.

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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