A new immigration system will not be ready by the time we formally leave the EU, argues this report. The UK could therefore be forced to keep the controversial ‘free movement of people’ for several years post-Brexit. Implementing Brexit: Immigration spells out the enormity of the task and finds that successful implementation of a new immigration system by April 2019 is unfeasible – not just for government, but also employers, landlords and providers of public services.
But unlike other areas impacted by Brexit, immigration policy can be decided by the UK alone – so there is no ‘cliff-edge’ in prospect. The report recommends that the Government keeps the current system until a replacement is ready, avoiding multiple changes.
The report also says the existing process for registering EU nationals is not fit for purpose. It says that if the residency system isn’t overhauled as a matter of urgency, the Government could need up to 5,000 extra civil servants to process applications and deal with the large number of expected appeals.