15.05.2018 Government Delays Publishing Plans on Post-Brexit Immigration

15.05.2018 Government Delays Publishing Plans on Post-Brexit Immigration

Downing Street has confirmed that the proposals for Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy will be published ‘in the coming months’. The current Immigration Bill proposes new rules for migrants from the EU to the UK after free movement ends.

An official policy document had been expected last Autumn, with the Bill to be brought forward in the New Year, in accordance with the Immigration Minister’s declaration in October 2017. However, the Prime Minister’s spokesman recently confirmed that Ministers were ‘confident’ that the new system would be ready by the time the UK leaves the EU. The Immigration Bill, if enacted, will enable the Government to end free movement for EU nationals into the UK if no agreement is reached between the UK and the EU, but ministers claim it will still allow the country to attract ‘the brightest and the best’.

In February, the Home Affairs Committee noted that there was still “considerable uncertainty about when the White Paper will be published” and this delay had caused “anxiety for EU citizens in the UK, uncertainty for UK businesses and concern in Parliament”. The government’s decision to postpone the publication of this key document relating to its plans for the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system has been called ‘hugely frustrating’ by British businesses.

Despite the above concerns, The Home Office is of the opinion that the Brexit transition period agreement means that the Immigration Bill “will not be needed until after this period ends in December 2020.” Adding that “The bills will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows”. The Home Office believes that the Bill will not be required before December 2020. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Home Affairs Committee in March that the bill will be published ‘early next year’ to establish new rules for 2021.