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Migration Observatory reviews potential post-Brexit immigration policies (Pre-referendum)

09 Jun 2016

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has published a review of unresolved questions about future migration policies following the EU referendum.

In the commentary, What would UK immigration policy look like after Brexit? the Observatory examines five key questions about the design of UK immigration policies if the UK votes to leave the EU:

  • Whether the UK would join the European Economic Area and continue to implement free movement;
  • Whether an “Australian-style points based system” would be introduced and what the effect would be on UK migration;
  • Whether policies would be introduced to meet demand for labour in low-skilled jobs;
  • How the residence rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK would be resolved;
  • Whether a ‘tens of thousands’ net migration target can be met in a Brexit scenario.

Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “Whether the UK will adopt an ‘Australian style’ points-based system after Brexit is a red herring in the referendum debate. The important question is whether the UK leaves the single market and introduces restrictions on EU migration.

“If it does, designing a new immigration system will be a hugely complex task. A points-based system would be one of several options, but it would be a surprising choice in some respects. After all, an ‘Australian-style’ points system was introduced under Labour and closed by the Conservatives because of their concerns that it was not well suited to the UK’s needs or their goal of reducing net migration.”

The commentary notes that regardless of the policies that apply to EU migration in a Brexit scenario, the tens of thousands net migration target is unlikely to be met under current economic circumstances.

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