Lords EU Committee ‘disappointed’ by the poor response from Government regarding ‘post-Brexit migration’ issues.


Lord Jay, Chairman of the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, has today written to Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, expressing disappointment in the Government’s response to the Committee's report on movement of people.

The letter asks for an explanation as to why the response took so long, and to specify which of the recommendations and conclusions they are not in a position to respond to.

The Government response to the Committee is non-committal regarding the status of EU citizens who will be resident in the UK at the moment of its withdrawal from Europe. It refers the Lords to a chronology of statements of intent that have been made since the referendum and triggering of Article 50.

With respect to businesses and employers that need to plan now and prepare themselves for the future, the Government response recognises: “that it is important that we understand the impacts on the different sectors of the economy and the labour market and want to ensure that decisions on the long-term system are based on evidence.”

The Home Office had commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee ('MAC') to consider patterns of EU migration, and the role of migration in the wider economy, ahead of the UK exit from the EU.

They have asked the MAC: “to report by September 2018” – and flagged that interim reports would be helpful inputs to policy development.  “The Government will carefully consider any recommendations made to it by the MAC before finalising the details and future immigration system for EU nationals.”

Brexit-Partners share the concerns raised by the Lords. In the event of a ‘no-deal' and 'hard-Brexit’ scenario, there will be less than 6 months’ notice for businesses and individuals to respond before the new ‘system’ comes into effect.  This will be less than the contractual notice of changes to employment conditions in some cases.

There is a very real danger that key personnel will view themselves as being shepherded towards a cliff-edge – and decide to act now rather wait until they have are presented with a no choice outcome.

We have expertise in complex scenario planning through change and uncertainty – and will advise clients to optimise business response accordingly.  However, this particular issue is beginning to feel like the Government is playing with peoples’ lives – and we hope that it is not left a moment longer than necessary to resolve. 

John ShuttleworthComment