The British government must not cave in to the EU on immigration


March 19, 2018

The government must not allow their trade negotiations with the EU to get embroiled with immigration issues – that is the thrust of a paper issued by Migration Watch UK.

The paper is a response to ominous signs that the British Government is contemplating further concessions on immigration at talks due to take place in Brussels in the coming days.

The Prime Minister has said in this context: “We’ll be setting out our immigration rules, we’ll negotiate with the EU.” Meanwhile, a newly amended EU draft negotiating directive is expected to call, significantly, for “ambitious provisions on movement of [people], based on reciprocity and non-discrimination among member states, and on coordination of social security and recognition of professional qualifications.”

Migration Watch UK research finds that no other Free Trade Agreement concluded by the EU has provisions for the movement of people except for individuals directly connected with the supply of the goods and services laid down in the agreement itself (see the Note to Editors below for more detail).

Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

A sharp reduction in immigration from the EU must be a red line in these negotiations, not a bargaining chip.The government has already caved in on rights for those arriving in the implementation period. They must not capitulate on longer term immigration arrangements. That would be a betrayal of the 17 million who voted for Brexit.

Notes to Editors

  • The EU / South Korea agreement, finalised in 2011, contains no provisions for the movement of people beyond those needed temporarily to enable the supply of services.
  • The Canada / EU agreement, finalised in 2014, provides only for ‘company staff and other professionals to work on the other side of the Atlantic, and for firms to move staff temporarily between the EU and Canada’.
  • The EU’s “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement” with Ukraine has no provisions at all for free movement of workers.
  • The EU-Japan agreement, signed in December 2017, stipulates reciprocal obligations ‘to facilitate entry and temporary stay to natural persons for business purposes’. Such persons are defined as business visitors, intra-corporate transferees, investors, contractual service suppliers and independent professionals’. Existing migratory regulations in both jurisdictions are otherwise unaffected.

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