Brexit: A new immigration system will be in place by March 2019 when the free movement of people between the EU and the UK ends, a minister has said.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis was speaking as the government commissioned a “detailed assessment” of the costs and benefits of EU migrants.
That report is expected in September 2018, six months before Brexit.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has promised business there will be no “cliff edge” on immigration.
There would be an “implementation phase” which would involve new EU workers registering their details when they come to the UK.
The CBI said businesses “urgently” needed to know what EU migration would look like, both in any “transitional” period after March 2019 and beyond.
Ministers have also promised an “extensive” consultation to listen to the views of businesses, unions and universities.
Immigration was one of the central topics of last year’s EU referendum campaign, and ministers have promised to “take back control” of the UK’s borders as they negotiate Brexit.
An immigration bill, which will reveal the government’s chosen method, was included in last month’s Queen’s Speech.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Lewis would not confirm details of how the government plans to manage migration after Brexit, saying these would be revealed in a white paper later this year, and that the immigration bill would go through Parliament in 2018.
Ministers have promised an implementation period after Brexit to try and minimise the economic and social impact of the UK leaving the EU.
Mr Lewis said it was a “simple matter of fact” that EU free movement rules would not apply during this time, and that a new system would be in place by Spring 2019.
He was also pressed on the Conservative manifesto pledge to reduce overall net migration – currently 248,000 – to the tens of thousands. (full story BBC)
PS EU citizens in UK are ‘migrants’ but what are UK citizens in EU?