Government White Paper Suggests Phased Immigration Controls Are Possibility

After months of uncertainty about the future of Britain’s involvement with the EU, the government has released a white paper detailing the steps to Brexit. After two days of debates within parliament, MPs voting in favouring of triggering article 50 which will commence talks with the European Union

The white paper outlined the 12 key goals for Brexit, which include retaining worker rights and gaining control of the borders. While many people assumed that taking control of the borders would mean stopping people from coming to the UK, the white paper has revealed that this might not be as straightforward as it sounds.

The possibility of phasing out free movement was discussed in the report as a way to “give businesses and individuals enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.” This puts to rest the idea that triggering article 50 will mean EU nationals living in the UK could be asked to leave with immediate effect.

While many want to put an end to immigration into the UK, the white paper made clear that being open to international talent is still a priority. A points-based immigration system has already been ruled out by Number 10, despite this being a key promise made by the Leave campaign.

Not much has been said about how immigration will be managed, but the government made clear that the new system will “encourage the brightest and the best to come to this country, as part of a stable and prosperous future with the EU and our European partners”.

Understanding local labour needs and ensuring the economy isn’t put at risk as a result of stricter immigration controls is a key concern. The white paper continues: “It is important that we understand the impacts on the different sectors of the economy and the labour market.

“We will, therefore, ensure that businesses and communities have the opportunity to contribute their views. Equally, we will need to understand the potential impacts of any proposed changes in all the parts of the UK.

“So we will build a comprehensive picture of the needs and interests of all parts of the UK and look to develop a system that works for all.”

You can read the full white paper here, or if you are concerned about how these changes will affect you, you can get in touch with your nearest IAS branch here.

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