The PM must firmly reject EU demands, allegedly being supported by President Macron, that their citizens who arrive after Brexit should be automatically granted the right to gain permanent settlement even though the UK will have left the EU.
That is the conclusion of a Migration Watch UK paper (MW440 – Implications for immigration of a post-Brexit transition period) being published today.
It finds that the number of EU nationals arriving in the course of a two-year post-Brexit transition period could total up to a million. A three-year transition period could bring to up to 1.5 million the pool of people over whom the UK would have no immigration control.
If the UK were to concede on this critical issue, EU nationals arriving before the end of the period would be able to remain in the UK for the five years necessary to become eligible for permanent settlement.
Those with this status could then be joined by direct family members, including elderly dependent relatives, future children and partners who were not EU citizens.
The paper bases its estimates on different methods of assessing past trends. The figure of half a million a year is based on the number of EU citizens who, in recent years, have applied at a Job Centre for a National Insurance Number. In the past some of these have been temporary migrants who have stayed for less than a year but a larger proportion of them might well stay on if the prize was a right to permanent settlement in the UK.
Furthermore, as the Home Affairs Committee noted in July 2016, experience has shown that an imminent tightening of immigration rules can prompt a surge of new applications. These estimates do not factor in those who might arrive should there be a last minute rush.
Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “This EU demand is absolutely absurd. We will have left the EU. That must mean that EU citizens who arrive after our departure should no longer enjoy treaty rights that derive from our membership.”