Home Office announces independent assessment of EU citizens in the UK

The Home Office have announced that they will conduct an independent assessment of the role that EU citizens play in the UK economy and society. The report has been commissioned over a year after the referendum vote to leave the EU, and its results will be delivered in September 2018, seven months before the Brexit deadline.

The review will be carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and will look into to focus the study on patterns of EU and EEA (European Economic Area) migration, considering regional distribution; skill levels; industry sectors and the role of the self-employed, part-time, agency, temporary and seasonal workers. The review will focus on the situation post-Brexit which means it will not relate to EU citizens who are already living in the UK.

The full set of questions given to the MAC are as follows:

EU and EEA Migration

  • Drawing on existing sources where appropriate, the MAC should set out current patterns of EU and EEA migration, looking at:
    • sectors,
    • regional distribution,
    • skill levels,
    • duration of assignments
    • self employment, entrepreneurs, part time, agency, temporary and seasonal workers; and
    • any other characteristics the MAC considers relevant;

    The MAC should consider the evolution of EU and EEA migration since 2000 and possible future trends (absent new immigration controls).

  • What are the methods of recruitment used by UK employers to employ EU and EEA migrants and how does this impact on UK workers?

  • What are the economic and social costs and benefits, including fiscal impacts to the UK economy and impacts on public services and infrastructure of EU and EEA migration?

  • Is it possible to estimate the potential impact of any future reductions in EU and EEA migration (whether occurring naturally or through policy), at a range of levels and how may these be felt differently across the economy and society? This may include a consideration of the impacts on the different parts of the UK, within the context of designing a UK-wide immigration system. How could business adjust if EU and EEA net migration was substantially reduced? What mitigating actions could be taken by employers and government and over what timescale?

Aligning the UK immigration system with a modern industrial strategy

  • What is the current impact of immigration, both EU, EEA and non-EEA, on the competitiveness of UK industry, including on productivity, innovation and labour market flexibility?
  • What impact does immigration have on skills and training?
  • Is there any evidence that the free availability of unskilled labour has contributed to the UK’s relatively low rate of investment in some sectors?
  • Are there advantages to focusing migrant labour on highly skilled jobs or across the entire skills spectrum?
  • Does the shortage occupation list need to be amended to include skills shortages at lower skills levels than NQF6?

The UK Government has already published its initial position with regards to EU citizens in the UK in a technical note along with some guidance for EU citizens living in the UK. The UK government have already confirmed the following:

  • EU citizens with settled status – those who have been here for five or more years – will continue to be treated as if they were UK nationals for education, healthcare, benefits, pensions and social housing after we leave the EU.
  • No EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave when the UK leaves the EU. There will be a two-year transitional period for EU citizens to apply for permanent residence.
  • The process to apply for settled status will be streamlined and user friendly, and up and running by 2018.

However, various things are still to be confirmed, including what rights EU citizens will have to vote, and how much time they will be able to spend outside the UK after Brexit.


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