Post-Brexit immigration rules should be giving preferential treatment to skilled workers from the remaining members of the European Union, according to leaked government documents.
According to an uncovered report drawn up for Home Secretary Amber Rudd, a “soft” Brexit deal would result in just 40,000 fewer EU migrants per year arriving in the UK – a cut of around 1/5th. The report adds that if Britain leaves the bloc without reaching a trade deal with the remaining members, EU immigration would be cut by significantly more - about 90,000.
The Daily Telegraph paper suggests that under a more “flexible” migration policy – described as being a midway point between strict policy and continued labour mobility - EU workers arriving in the UK would need to have jobs with a minimum salary threshold of £20,500.
It states that if the UK leaves without a trade deal, controls would have to be stricter with EU migrants with only those who are willing to work unsociable hours being given priority.
The report also proposes that lower-skilled EU workers are only given a two year work permit, would be fingerprinted and issued biometric ID cards and denied access to housing benefit or tax credits.
The proposal for a special “antisocial hours visa” brought immediate criticism from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants whose director, Chai Patel, said it was hard to think of a worse way to achieve integrated and cohesive communities than a “night-time only” visa system.
“To make a living a parallel life to the rest of Britain a condition of coming here to live and work would be a self-destructive folly and a wasted opportunity to build an immigration system fit for the future,” he said.
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