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Managing migration after Brexit

The Home Office may not be the right department to manage immigration policy after Brexit

Leaving the European Union (EU) will allow the UK to ‘take back control’ of aspects of migration policy previously determined by EU law. The Government will be able to restrict EU immigration in a way that has not been possible for decades.

‘Taking back control’ of immigration is about much more than just designing and implementing a new immigration system. Over the past 15 years, the UK has come to depend on the free movement of workers from the EU to meet skills gaps and labour shortages; large numbers have moved to the UK from the EU without coming into contact with the UK immigration system.

Managing migration after Brexit says the Home Office is not ready or able to meet the challenge of ending free movement after we leave the EU. The report lays bare the flaws in the immigration system that have led to a series of crises and to reorganisations designed to solve the last set of problems rather than address future needs

This report presents a six-point plan for managing migration after Brexit:

  • The Government must agree clear objectives for the new immigration system after Brexit.
  • The Home Secretary must update Parliament each year on how far those objectives are met.
  • Immigration policy should be based on an understanding of the social and economic role that migrants play in the UK, rather than net migration targets. The Home Secretary should publish a comprehensive data strategy to make this analysis possible.
  • The Home Secretary should legislate to simplify immigration rules.
  • The Migration Advisory Committee should be more independent of the Home Office, reflecting its increasing importance.
  • The Home Secretary should immediately launch the review of the department that was promised last year.
Institute for Government

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