HR and tax alert | July 2017

UK Government formally commissions advice on new immigration policy development after Brexit

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Executive summary

On 27 July 2017 the UK government formally requested the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) began collating evidence and recommendations on new immigration policy development.  The request relates to the UK’s pending departure from the EU at the end of March 2019 and the remit covers EU/EEA migration and the role of migration on the wider economy.

Along with the formal request to the MAC the government also outlined more detail on their proposals for transitional provisions that will apply after the UK leaves the EU.


The UK government has made clear its intention to reduce net migration and to end free movement into and out of the UK as the UK leaves the EU. They also wish to align the UK immigration framework with the country’s industrial and commercial strategy.

The Government has also outlined its intention for a phased approach to changes in immigration policy, and expanded on proposals contained within a recently released white paper on the UK’s offer to EU citizens already resident in the UK.

  • During the first phase, EU citizens arriving and resident in the UK before a specified date, (which is still under negotiation) would be able to apply for settled status once they have accumulated five years’ continuous residence.
  • The second phase describes a temporary implementation period with transitional regulations as the UK leaves the EU. This would include a straightforward system for the registration and documentation of new EU arrivals. This proposal is of particular interest as it suggests that there will be minimal, if any, restrictions on the ability of EU citizens who arrive after Brexit to live and work in the UK. This is clearly a contentious point and full details of how this straightforward system might work are yet to surface.
  • The third phase will cover longer term arrangements for EU citizens. The MAC is being asked to gather evidence to help design future policy in this respect.

The remit of the MAC’s commission broadly includes the current patterns of EU and EEA migration and the role of migration on the wider economy and society relating to sectors, regions, skills and recruitment methods. The findings are to be reported back to the government by September 2018 with interim reports on various aspects of immigration policy to be expected periodically.

Next steps

The MAC will shortly publish a call for evidence setting out how stakeholders can contribute their views and experience. During this consultation period, the government will also undertake its own discussions with business. Employers are advised to review how the proposed changes will impact their UK workforce requirements and to engage with the government consultations on this.

EY will continue to engage with the government on the proposals and will publish further updates as these are released.

EYG no. 04465-173Gbl

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