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In a new report released today, Britain’s immigration offer to EuropeBritish Future sets out a proposal for a new, preferential system for EU immigration to the UK. Such a system, it argues, could secure UK public support for immigration in a managed system which is fair to migrants and host communities; yet remains politically deliverable in Westminster and for the EU and its member states too.  According to the report many think immigration presents an impossible conundrum for the Brexit negotiations.  But could we find a system that helps rebuild trust while continuing to welcome European migration to Britain and, crucially, gives UK negotiators a positive offer to make to the EU as it seeks the best possible trade deal?

The British Future proposal offers preferential European access to the UK labour market as part of a UK deal on trade with the EU. It retains freedom of movement for EU workers above a set skills or salary level: UK attitudes research shows that 88% of the public does not want to reduce the migration of skilled workers that our economy needs.  They would, however, like greater control of low- and semi-skilled immigration, which would be subject to quotas, set annually by Parliament, after consultation with employers and local communities. Importantly, the first opportunity to fill those low-skilled migrant quotas would go to Britain’s preferential trade partners – and the first offer of such a preferential trade and migration deal should be made to the EU.

It is essential that migrant workers are treated fairly and offered routes to settlement and citizenship and we make clear that this is not a guest worker system. We believe this is a constructive offer that is capable of securing support from within the European Union. What’s more, it could help to rebuild public trust in our immigration system here in the UK.  A preferential system would bring unskilled migration under UK control, while still ensuring that employers can recruit the staff they need to keep our economy growing, and our country remains open to the immigration that we want and need.



The Moving Up the Ladder? Labor Market Outcomes in the United Kingdom amid Rising Immigration” report analyses the labour market integration of recent immigrants to the United Kingdom .The 2000s saw a significant increase in the foreign-born working-age population in the United Kingdom, in part because of the decision to forgo restrictions on the inflow of workers from the new European Union Member States. Starting in 2004, a large influx of labour from Eastern European countries—especially Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania—transformed the country’s immigrant population and labour market.


Migration Policy Institute suggests the plentiful supply of labour from immigration coupled with the United Kingdom’s flexible labour market encouraged job creation during the 2000s. While the economic crisis of 2008 and subsequent recession affected employment rates, the United Kingdom did not experience the large-scale unemployment that other countries suffered. However, immigrants who entered after 2008 found it more difficult to get work. Newcomers’ countries of origin, level of education, and time since arrival all shaped their occupational mobility and employment outcomes


The report is part of a series of case studies on titled The Labor Market Integration of New Arrivals in Europe”​This project evaluates the ease with which foreign-born workers within the European Union are able to establish themselves in destination-country labor markets during the first decade after arrival. The research evaluates the conditions under which new immigrants are able not only to find employment, but also to progress into middle-skilled jobs.