Tighter post-Brexit immigration rules could be relaxed for health and social care

6 Sep 17

Tighter immigration rules in Britain post-Brexit could be relaxed for health and social care, a leaked Home Office paper has suggested.

Freedom of movement will end immediately after the UK leaves the EU, an 82-page government document handed to The Guardian has appeared to confirm.

The paper has suggested restrictions will be placed on all but high-skilled migrants.

Although, it also stated: “The successor arrangements will be set and adjusted to meet UK needs (for example, to meet labour market requirements for certain sectors such as health and social care), our wider immigration policy, our economic circumstances and the deep and special partnership we seek to agree with the EU, as well as trade arrangements with other countries.”

The document, entitled Border, Immigration and Citizenship System After the UK Leaves the EU, published by The Guardian today, sets out restrictions including:

  • A cap on the number of unskilled workers from the EU
  • Introducing a salary and skills threshold for new arrivals
  • Forcing businesses to recruit in Britain before turning to EU migrants
  • Ending the right to settle in Britain for most European migrants
  • Placing new restrictions on their rights to bring in family members.


It has also noted: “Implementing a new system will take time and need to be done gradually so that employers, government systems and individuals are able to adapt.”

The draft document, which has not been signed off by ministers, has proposed to drive down low-skilled immigration by offering them residency for a maximum of only two years while high-skilled workers will permitted to stay for longer periods between three and five years.

The document, dated August this year, has said: “Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off.”

The paper’s authors have conceded final decisions on future immigration policy will depend on input from stakeholders, approval by parliament and negotiations with the 27 EU member states.

Diane Abbott, shadow home secretary, responding to leaked Home Office document, said: "Labour wants fair rules and reasonable management of migration in accordance with the needs of our economy and our values as a party.

"This leaked document is not yet government policy. If it becomes so, we will judge it against the criteria we have laid out."

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady criticised the proposals as she alleges it would do little to help falling living standards and job security.

Adding: “These plans would create an underground economy, encouraging bad bosses to exploit migrants and undercut decent employers offering good jobs.

“The government must crackdown on bad jobs and make sure work is fairer for everyone.”

A government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked draft documents. We will be setting out our initial proposals for a new immigration system which takes back control of the UK’s borders later in the autumn.”

The document has emerged after official figures were released showing a significant drop in immigration from the EU after the Brexit vote last year.

CIPFA has set up a Brexit commission to evaluate the impact leaving the EU could have on Britain’s public services. It will look at the relationship between these services and EU funding.

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