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Migration

British Future launches a post-Brexit inquiry into the status of EU nationals in the UK

While the UK currently remains subject to free movement rules during its negotiations to
leave the EU, any long-term commitment to retain free movement post-Brexit looks politically
unlikely.

However, according to British Future there is a broad consensus for separating the status of
current EU nationals living in the UK, from future policy changes that may apply to new migrants.
The official Vote Leave campaign proposed that there should be “no change for EU citizens
already lawfully resident in the UK. These EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite
leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favorably than they are at present”.

Since the referendum, there has been pressure to secure an immediate government
commitment to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in Britain, as exemplified in the
Sunday Telegraph letter signed by Leave and Remain politicians, as well as the TUC, the
Institute of Directors and trade bodies representing specific industrial sectors. Polling from
ICM for British Future found that 84% of the British public supports letting EU
migrants stay – including three-quarters (77%) of Leave voters – with any future
changes applying only to new migrants.

The Government has delayed making a specific commitment on EU nationals, on the
grounds that it needs to seek reciprocity for British nationals in the EU. It has also voiced
concerns about managing immigration surges from those trying to beat cut-off points and
policy deadlines.

The Government has said that it does anticipate that the principle of EU nationals being able
to stay and settle in the UK will eventually be agreed, but there will be many complexities
about how to uphold this in practice. Establishing legal residence in the UK will be difficult for
some EU migrants, for example.

To inform the approach of the Government, British Future is holding a short inquiry on the
status of EU nationals in the UK after Brexit. The Inquiry will meet in September 2016 and is
being chaired by Gisela Stuart MP. It has cross-party support and also includes business
and trade union representation. The Inquiry will report in autumn 2016, setting out practical
proposals about how to secure the status of EU nationals living in the UK.

To support the inquiry British Future has launched a Call for Evidence asking employers,
migrants’ organisations, migration and legal experts and other interested parties to provide
supporting evidence. Submissions should be less than 1,000 words, and additional documents
and appendixes can be included if relevant.  British Future’s deadline for receiving
submissions is 5pm on Wednesday 07 September 2016, 
but if your organisation
requires a little more time, please contact Jill Rutter at British Future.  You can submit evidence here.