In July 2017 the UK Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to report on the economic and social impact of the UK leaving the European Union. The report will also consider how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial society. What does the report consider?
A briefing note and a call for evidence have been issued by MAC. In the briefing note, MAC state it will consider the impact of different types of migrants on the UK, and whether different policies are required to address the varied issues. The report will then go onto consider what types of migrants will be considered under such a system in accordance with economic theory. The report will consider the type of criteria that might be used to select migrants. The report provides a brief overview of the current employment of EEA migrants (taking into account religion, employment status, industry, occupation, age and religion). The paper will finally conclude by considering some of the methods used in other countries to manage migration.
The briefing note caught the attention of the press, particularly with regard to its comments on using age to select migrants allowed to enter the UK. The note references other countries with control over their immigration such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These countries treat young migrants more favourably, awarding them more points in their points-based immigration systems.
The briefing note suggests the young are more desirable migrants. Young people will have their working lives ahead of them and so have more of a chance to make a positive contribution to public finances, for example through paying taxes. It was also suggested that the young generally find it easier to assimilate into different cultures than their elders.
What are the practical implications of the report?
The UK Government has attracted criticism for waiting more than a year to commission such a report, especially now it has been announced that free movement between the UK and the EU will end in March 2019. This criticism is compounded by the fact that MAC will not produce is findings until September 2018 – seven months before the end of free movement.
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, responded to such criticism. She argued that the UK will continue to attract migrants who benefit the UK economically, culturally and socially. A new immigration system will bring net migration levels down to a sustainable level. Writing in the Financial Times, Amber Rudd suggested the MAC study will give UK businesses an opportunity to express honest opinions, independent of the government.
Amber Rudd also restated the fact that there will be a transitional period of free movement after March 2019. Commentators have speculated that this may mean, on a practical level, free movement as we currently know it will continue for months and even years to come.
Nicola Weir is a specialist Immigration Solicitor. If you have any questions about Immigration or the planned end of free movement between the UK and the EU please contact a Nicola on 0131 225 8705 or a member of our specialist Immigration team.