04 May 2017
New immigration system ‘will take some time’
The UK may need to keep freedom of movement beyond the Brexit deadline of 2019, a report suggests, due to the difficulties of putting in place a new immigration system.
Experts from the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank have indicated that it will not be feasible to put a completely new system in place by the time Britain leaves the EU in spring 2019.
In order to support the likes of employers, the institute has now recommended that the current immigration system should remain in place until a suitable replacement is ready.
It noted that as many as 5,000 extra civil service officials may also be needed to cope with applications and appeals once the rules eventually change.
Jill Rutter, IfG Brexit programme director, said that while immigration changes are important to politicians, they will come up against a large administrative challenge.
She stated: "The scale of the task - creating a new immigration system - is huge and it is critical that Government gets it right.
"The current process for dealing with permanent residence applications from EU nationals is not fit for purpose, as the Government itself acknowledged. It needs to be streamlined as a matter of urgency and as a first step towards a new post-Brexit system."