Immediately upon leaving the European Union (EU), Britain will seek to drastically reduce immigration. The news comes from leaked documents obtained by The Guardian newspaper. The two key proposals include limiting the amount of migration from EU nations and reducing the number of “low-skilled” work visas.
The driving factor behind the successful Brexit vote were to “claw back sovereignty and to control immigration.” The document states:
“Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off.”
It also seeks to limit migration through visas for family members. It looks to tighten the definition of “extended family members” to those who are direct members and “durable partners.” For EU nationals residing in Britain to bring over family members who are non-EU nationals, the applicant would have to show that they are earning at least £18,600 ($24,000) a year.
Predictably, this has raised questions regarding why EU nationals would have special privileges over non-EU nationals when Britain is supposedly cutting ties with all EU laws and regulations. Critics raise two important questions. The first being why EU nationals would have a different/more protected status than others if there is not some type of “back room deal” taking place? And secondly, would the £18,600 earnings include state benefits?
There are many in the British political system who are against any kind of immigration reform taking place. One of the most outspoken of these is London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. He describes the document as “like a blueprint on how to strangle London’s economy.”
“Khan, a vociferous opponent of Brexit, said the proposals would be “devastating not just for our city but for the whole country.” He warned that “thousands” of families could be split up.
“I respect the outcome of the EU referendum, but the British people did not vote to make our country and future generations poorer,” he said in a statement.
“An extreme hard Brexit — which was rejected just a few months ago at the general election — would be terrible for London and Britain alike.”
While the British Labour party is against almost any restriction on immigration, the leading Conservative party is ostensibly pushing for some reform. Brexiteers are suggesting that moves made by the government are not in the best interests of the British people, and in fact, are merely a sop to the electorate.
The document in full reads:
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.