Implementing Brexit: Immigration

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Series Details May 2017
Publication Date May 2017
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The Institute for Government is an independent charity in the United Kingdom working to increase government effectiveness.

It works with all the main political parties at Westminster and with senior civil servants in Whitehall. It provides evidence based advice that draws on best practice from around the world.

The Institute for Government is a registered charity in England and Wales (Registered Charity No.1123926).

The charitable objectives of the Institute are:

+ The advancement of education in the art and science of government in the UK for the benefit of the public and on a non-party political basis;
+ The promotion of efficient public administration of government and public service in the UK by providing programmes of education, training, research and study for the public benefit and on a non-party political basis.
The Institute for Government published a report called Implementing Brexit: Immigration in May 2017. This is the first in a series of Institute for Government papers on implementing Brexit.

A new immigration system will not be ready by the time the United Kingdom formally leaves the EU, the report argued. The UK could therefore be forced to keep the controversial ‘free movement of people’ for several years post-Brexit. Implementing Brexit: Immigration spells out the enormity of the task and finds that successful implementation of a new immigration system by April 2019 is unfeasible – not just for government, but also employers, landlords and providers of public services.

But unlike other areas impacted by Brexit, immigration policy can be decided by the UK alone – so there is no ‘cliff-edge’ in prospect. The report recommends that the Government keeps the current system until a replacement is ready, avoiding multiple changes.

The report also says the existing process for registering EU nationals is not fit for purpose. It says that if the residency system isn’t overhauled as a matter of urgency, the Government could need up to 5,000 extra civil servants to process applications and deal with the large number of expected appeals.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Striking the right deal: UK–EU migration and the Brexit negotiations (IPPR, 2017)
ESO: Background information: Brexit: UK-EU movement of people (UK: House of Lords: EU Committee: Report, 2017)
Blog: IfG, 09.05.17: Immigration target – reality check

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