Government commisions detailed study on EU workers

The Home Secretary will today (Thursday, 27 July) commission the Government’s independent advisers on migration to complete a detailed assessment of the role of EU nationals in the UK economy and society.

Amber Rudd will ask the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the British labour market, the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.

The commission represents an extremely important piece of work, with free movement ending when we exit the EU. Plans for the UK’s future immigration system are being developed which will enable the Government to control the flow of migration from Europe.

Writing to the chair of the MAC, Professor Alan Manning, the Home Secretary will say the Government continues “working towards the goal of achieving sustainable levels of net migration” and that under a future system “we will be able to apply different immigration rules and requirements according to the UK’s economic and social needs”.

The Home Office will ask the MAC to focus the study on patterns of EU and EEA (European Economic Area) migration, considering regional distribution; skill levels; industry sectors and the role of the self-employed, part-time, agency, temporary and seasonal workers.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

“Leaving the European Union gives us the opportunity to take control of immigration from the EU. We will ensure we continue to attract those who benefit us economically, socially and culturally.

“But, at the same time, our new immigration system will give us control of the volume of people coming here – giving the public confidence we are applying our own rules on who we want to come to the UK and helping us to bring down net migration to sustainable levels.

“The study I am asking the Migration Advisory Committee to complete is a major step in ensuring we create a system that works in the best interests of the country.”

Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“We want to build a system where we have control of our borders and which delivers for our industries and our economy.”

The Home Secretary will also underline today there will be an implementation period when the UK leaves the EU to ensure there is no “cliff edge” for employers or EU nationals in the UK.

In addition to the MAC commission, there will be an extensive cross-Government programme of engagement over the coming months with stakeholders from a number of sectors, including business, industry, trades unions and educational institutions.

The MAC, which comprises of a group of internationally recognised experts in their field, will assess and build on the internal cross-government work that has already been completed.

Among the issues the Home Secretary will ask the MAC to examine will be:

• The current patterns of EEA migration, including which sectors are most reliant on EU labour

• The economic and social costs and benefits of EU migration to the UK economy

• The potential impact of a reduction in EU migration and the ways in which both business and the Government could adjust to this change

• The current impact of immigration, from both EU and non-EU countries, on the competitiveness of UK industry and skills and training

• Whether there is any evidence that the availability of unskilled labour has led to low UK investment in certain sectors

• If there are advantages to focusing migrant labour on high-skilled jobs

The MAC will be asked to report back by September 2018, though it is being invited to issue interim reports before then.