Free Movement to End in March 2019

Chopper's Brexit Podcast Episode 19

The government has pledged to end the free movement of people between the EU and United Kingdom and implement a new immigration system by March 2019, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

An entirely new immigration system, set by British lawmakers, will be in place in April 2019, a spokesperson said. It's another fantastic leap into the dark which has become all too common since the United Kingdom made a decision to leave the Union which constitutes its biggest trading partner.

However questions have been raised on why it has taken until now to commission an assessment on one of the central issues of Brexit.

The minister's comments seem to contradict reports from senior cabinet sources in the Guardian that ministers were committed to a post-Brexit transition period that could see free movement continue for up to four years after Britain formally leaves the EU. "The timing of this announcement shows the total lack of preparation and understanding that has typified this government's attitude to Brexit so far".

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, agreed that the study had come a year too late.

But just hours earlier, his superior, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, said the flow of European Union workers would continue for an "implementation period" after Britain formally leaves the European Union, to ensure that there is "no cliff edge" for employers - a move welcomed by business leaders.

Writing in the Financial Times, she describes how business leaders and employers across a range of sectors have spoken to her about the value of European citizens for labour, skills and ideas. "Ministers must explain how their negotiations will minimize the damage Brexit will do to our economy and public services".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to study current migration trends and asses the impact of a cut in numbers.

"We will ensure we continue to attract those who benefit us economically, socially and culturally", Rudd wrote in Britain's Financial Times newspaper.

The move was welcomed by the British Chambers of Commerce, which said the U.K.'s economic and employment needs were "better evaluated by experts ... than by politicians or commentators".

Net immigration from the European Union was estimated to be at 133,300 a year ago in official statistics, and the Conservative government committed in its manifesto that it would get immigration down to "tens of thousands". He said the review was "a sensible first step".

"When we do that deal, inter-governmental co-operation and a giant free trade deal, I believe we will create a solution that has been long desired and long in the making - a strong European Union buttressed and supported by a strong United Kingdom, with each side freely trading with the other and with the United Kingdom able to think about new opportunities in the rest of the world".

The CBI said businesses "urgently" needed to know what this would look like, both in any "transitional" period after March 2019 and beyond.

It said it "does not seem at all clear" how Britain could remain part of the present warrant system because it is overseen by the European court of justice (ECJ), which the government insists should have no jurisdiction over United Kingdom matters after Brexit.

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