Immigration Policy after Brexit

This report sets out the likely options being considered by the UK Government in their development of a new immigration policy after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and what the implications and risks of these approaches might be for Wales’ economy and public services, taking into account current patterns of migration in the Welsh workforce.

It argues that:

  • The Brexit process will be complex, with the Article 50 discussions covering EEA nationals resident in the UK, and domestic legislation required for a post-Brexit immigration system.
  • It is unclear whether trade negotiations between the UK and the EU will cover migration.
  • There are about 80,000 EEA nationals in Wales, and it is likely that they will be granted permanent residence, but there are numerous complex legal and administrative issues to resolve.
  • It is unclear whether a post-Brexit immigration system will retain ‘European preference’, whether it includes sectoral and/or regional elements, and how it addresses the need for skilled workers.
  • Wales is less dependent than the UK as a whole on migrant workers, but there are vulnerable sectors (eg manufacturing, hotels and catering, health and social care, and higher education.
  • Streamlining permanent residence for EEA nationals, continuing free movement for a defined period after Brexit, carefully phased implementation of a new immigration system, avoiding caps and quotas, considering regional immigration schemes and a greater openness to non-EU nationals would all minimise risks to the Welsh economy and labour market.

(Professor Portes’ report starts on Page 49)