There should be no cap on the number of high-skilled migrants coming to the United Kingdom after Brexit, according to a new report commissioned by the government. Drafted by the Migration Advisory Committee, it says these workers make a more positive contribution to the public finances.
The report also suggests that EU workers should be subject to the same visa rules as other migrants. But the UK might offer them special status under a Brexit deal.
“If immigration is not part of the negotiations with the EU and the UK is deciding its future system in isolation, there should be no preference given to EU citizens,” the report says.
As reported by the BBC, it says it sees no “compelling reasons to offer a different set of rules” for workers from the EEA.
“A migrant’s impact depends on factors such as their skills, employment, age and use of public services, and not fundamentally on their nationality,” says the report.
The government has said it will “carefully consider” the committee’s proposals. Labour has backed the report, calling for an “end to discrimination” against non-EU migrants.
However, Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of offering different rules for EU workers as part of negotiations to secure a trade deal with the bloc after the UK leaves in March 2019.
According to the BBC, London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that British businesses will pay the price “if the government fails to protect their access to a European workforce”.
The Scottish government’s migration minister, Ben Macpherson, said the report “fails to address” Scottish employers’ concerns – especially in the tourism and agriculture sectors – about access to workforce.