Freedom of move­ment to end on Oct 31

Daily Mail - - News - By Ian Drury and John Stevens

A NO Deal Brexit will mean freedom of move­ment is ended in­stantly, the Government vowed yes­ter­day.

Rules giv­ing EU cit­i­zens the right to en­ter the UK to live, work or study will be scrapped on Oc­to­ber 31.

Stricter rules will be in­tro­duced to make it eas­ier to keep out EU crim­i­nals, ex­trem­ists or other trou­ble­mak­ers from com­ing into the coun­try, Down­ing Street said.

Theresa May had looked at ex­tend­ing freedom of move­ment to 2021 or al­low­ing EU cit­i­zens and their fam­i­lies – plus those from Switzer­land, Nor­way, Iceland and Liecht­en­stein – to stay for three months be­fore ap­ply­ing to re­main for up to three years.

But it is un­der­stood Boris Johnson has dropped these op­tions. The Prime Min­is­ter has in­sisted he is com­mit­ted to hon­our­ing the ref­er­en­dum re­sult by end­ing free move­ment, a key rea­son the coun­try voted for Brexit in June 2016.

If ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU collapse and the UK leaves with­out a deal, freedom of move­ment – which also gives Bri­tons the right to live and travel freely within the EU – will end overnight on Hal­loween.

EU cit­i­zens with the right to per­ma­nent res­i­dence will not be af­fected.

Mr Johnson said that while the num­ber of for­eign­ers ar­riv­ing would be ‘demo­crat­i­cally con­trolled’, the UK would not ‘be­come hos­tile to im­mi­gra­tion’. No 10 and Home Sec­re­tary Priti Pa­tel are now de­vel­op­ing de­tails of a new scheme. Of­fi­cials have warned min­is­ters a new sys­tem would be im­pos­si­ble to en­force and could leave the UK fac­ing an­other Win­drush-style scan­dal, which saw im­mi­grants who ar­rived be­tween 1948 and 1970 wrongly de­ported back to the Caribbean.

Lib­eral Demo­crat home af­fairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey ques­tioned whether end­ing free move­ment would be le­gal. He told Radio 4: ‘This is in­creas­ing un­cer­tainty for all em­ploy­ers and could be highly dam­ag­ing for peo­ple using the NHS or de­pend­ing on the services of a busi­ness that has EU work­ers.’

The 3 Mil­lion group, which cam­paigns for the rights of EU cit­i­zens in the UK, said in a state­ment: ‘The idea of end­ing freedom of move­ment abruptly on Oc­to­ber 31 in case of No Deal is reck­less pol­i­tics.

‘Mil­lions of law­ful cit­i­zens will have their le­gal sta­tus re­moved overnight.’

Government sources ad­mit­ted the new sys­tem ‘may not look very dif­fer­ent’ straight away be­cause the Brexit dead­line is loom­ing. One said: ‘I don’t think any­one is lean­ing very heav­ily into idea there will be spank­ing new sys­tem in place. What we are go­ing to do is much tougher than EU crim­i­nal­ity thresh­olds.’

The Prime Min­is­ter has post­poned introducin­g im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion amid con­cerns it would be hi­jacked by pro-Re­main MPs in a bid to thwart leav­ing the EU.

A Down­ing Street spokesman said: ‘Freedom of move­ment as it cur­rently stands will end on Oc­to­ber 31 when the UK leaves the EU.

‘So for ex­am­ple we will in­tro­duce, im­me­di­ately, much tougher crim­i­nal­ity rules for peo­ple en­ter­ing the UK.’

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