UK weighs im­pact of EU im­mi­gra­tion

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World - Photo: AFP

BRI­TAIN yes­ter­day be­gan a study of the “costs and ben­e­fits” of EU im­mi­gra­tion that will only be com­pleted by Septem­ber 2018 – just a few months be­fore it is plan­ning to leave the bloc.

Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd said the study would con­sider the re­gional distri­bu­tion of EU mi­gra­tion, which in­dus­tries are most re­liant on it and the role of tem­po­rary and sea­sonal work­ers in the econ­omy.

“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 con­tinue to give us con­trol of the vol­ume of peo­ple com­ing here,” she wrote in the Fi­nan­cial Times.

Rudd sup­ported the cam­paign for Bri­tain to stay in the Euro­pean Union and, while she now sup­ports Brexit, her po­si­tion is seen as more mod­er­ate than other cabi­net mem­bers who want a clean break from the EU.

She said yes­ter­day that she wanted to re­as­sure busi­nesses and EU na­tion­als “that we will en­sure there is no ‘cliff edge’ once we leave the bloc”.

Josh Hardie, deputy head of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try (CBI), wel­comed the study as a “sen­si­ble first step” but op­po­si­tion par­ties ques­tioned why it had not been car­ried out be­fore.

“The NHS (Na­tional Health Ser­vice), busi­nesses and uni­ver­si­ties that de­pend on Euro­pean cit­i­zens need an­swers now, not in an­other 14 months’ time,” said Ed Davey, home af­fairs spokesman for the Lib­eral Democrats.

The gov­ern­ment has out­lined pro­pos­als for the sta­tus of some 3.2 mil­lion EU na­tion­als al­ready liv­ing in Bri­tain but has not said what new im­mi­gra­tion rules it wants once it is out of the bloc.

High rates of im­mi­gra­tion from other parts of the EU – around 250,000 peo­ple a year – were one of the key driv­ers be­hind the vic­to­ri­ous cam­paign for leav­ing the union in last year’s ref­er­en­dum.

EU im­mi­gra­tion has fallen by around a quar­ter since the vote, leav­ing some sec­tors such as the health ser­vice strug­gling to fill va­can­cies.

The EU’S chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier has in­di­cated that a di­vorce deal should be in place by Oc­to­ber 2018 to al­low time for rat­i­fi­ca­tion be­fore the sched­uled de­par­ture date of March 2019.

Me­dia re­ports have high­lighted di­vi­sions in the gov­ern­ment, with some mod­er­ates in­di­cat­ing that free move­ment of peo­ple could con­tinue dur­ing a tran­si­tion pe­riod of up to four years even af­ter Brexit. – AFP

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