Migrants from the EU should not be subject to the same “burdensome” rules as non-EU workers, the Confederation of British Industry said in a report published Friday and called on Theresa May’s government to abandon its net immigration targets.
“The current constraints of the non-EU immigration system are harming our economy. So simply applying this, or a similar system to EU citizens would be entirely unworkable,” CBI said in the report, “Open and Controlled: A New Approach to Immigration after Brexit,” based on consultations with businesses across the U.K.
The U.K. government is yet to set out its post-Brexit immigration policy. A report by the Migration Advisory Committee, a nondepartmental public body, which will review the contribution EU citizens make to the U.K., is due out in September and Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to announce the government’s plans after that.
Under former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the Home Office repeatedly delayed publication of new immigration proposals, sparking alarm among Brexiteer ministers in May’s Cabinet.
Rather than enforce a net migration target and seek to attract only the “brightest and best,” government should focus on attracting workers with a wide range of skill levels who can have a “positive” impact on the economy, the CBI said.
The country’s post-Brexit immigration plan should include special provisions for EU workers, who account for between 4 percent and 30 percent of the total workforce in different sectors, including agriculture, hospitality, construction and health care, according to CBI. It should also cut down on red tape to allow businesses to more easily recruit non-EU workers to help mitigate any post-Brexit losses.
Immigration and the mobility of workers should also be “put on the table” in future trade talks, including with the EU, to “increase the chance of getting the best deal for the U.K,” according to CBI.