News | Legal News

14 October 2016

Calls to ditch net migration targets and reset UK policy

Theresa May should abandon the net migration target and guarantee the rights of all European Union citizens living in the UK, according to a report from the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The business bosses' organisation says the "arbitrary and illogical" Tory goal of bringing net migration down to the "tens of thousands" should be scrapped by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Amber Rudd as part of a "reset" of immigration policy.

The paper argues that ministers must make clear that some of the promises on controlling immigration made by the Leave camp during the referendum contest were impossible to meet.

The document said: "Brexit offers an opportunity to reset UK immigration policy. The failure of successive governments to set out a coherent, long-term plan for controlling inflows, and heated rhetoric about the supposed costs of immigration, have exacerbated public concerns and undermined the public's trust in the Government's ability to lead.

"As policymakers look to assert more control over immigration it is vital to first evaluate all the implications in full. Government must also be frank about the trade-offs involved with Brexit and acknowledge the fact that some of the promises made by the Leave side are unfulfillable."

The report calls for the Government to ensure that the UK remains as close to the EU's single market as possible.

It warns "a loss of membership of the EU's single market in services would be detrimental for many businesses and employees and result in a considerable adjustment for the UK economy".

The IoD also calls for better training so British workers can meet the needs of employers in future.

Report author Seamus Nevin, the head of employment and skills policy at the IoD, said: "Now is the time to wipe the slate clean on immigration and start again with a new plan which takes account of the impact on businesses, public services and the wider UK economy.

"The vote to leave the European Union was a clear indication of public dissatisfaction with the status quo and this should not be ignored, but it must be dealt with in a way which is not harmful to Britain's future prospects."

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