After the British public announced their intent to leave the European Union in June 2016, there has been a lot of rumours and worries on how it will affect immigrants and immigration policies. Among the decisions that led to Brexit, immigration was one of them. 73% of those were worried about immigration voted, leave. The truth is that Brexit will definitely happen, and come March 2019, Britain will definitely be out of the EU. Where does this leave immigration?
The citizens of the European Union work, study and live in the UK without procuring a visa. This is bound to change with Brexit. The freedom of movement will no longer exist, and the British government is set to amend any laws it deems necessary to make it happen. The government has recently announced the rules for European Citizens, which is being introduced in phases. However, the government will roll out across the board the EU Settlement Scheme, once it has tested the system fully.
It has not been confirmed if EU Nationals currently in Britain will be removed if they do not regularise their status, and for those that don’t, may suffer the much maligned ‘hostile environment’ where landlords will not rent out if the EU national does not have any evidence of their right to stay in the UK.
Britain’s main aim is to be able to control the number of people coming in and out from Europe. EU immigrants make a very huge percentage of the industries in Britain and this is posing a major concern to a number of businesses especially those operating across the UK. Many business owners especially in the food, hotel, manufacturing, vegetable, and food processing plants are worried that with the end of the freedom of movement, manpower will go down and they will face a lot of vacant positions.
European Union citizens have started to give up even before Brexit. The number of migration has started to go down. The Annual net migration was recorded at 248,000 in 2016.This is a significant change from the previous year’s migration which was 332,000. This means EU citizens are opting out even before waiting for the final official decision.
How Immigration Will Affect Britain
Despite Britain growing economy, the workers’ wages have fallen between 2007 and 2015. Politicians are throwing blames on immigrants instead of addressing the real issue. Immigrants have been accused of stealing jobs and claiming benefits. Britons, on the other hand, tend to leave most low-skilled jobs to the immigrants. In a recent report from the Migration Advisory Committee, debunked the notion that EU national and non-EU migrants have had a significant impact on wages, crime, the NHS, housing, and schooling.
The painting of EU nationals and non-EU migrants as a source of the problem can be translated to legitimizing xenophobia. The relationship that is between unemployment and immigration is a little more complicated and should be fully addressed.
Immigrants working in Britain, spend most of their income there too and this contributes to the economy. A previously published report by the LSE debunked a number of myths that the public believed immigration had brought to their country. They believed that areas with a high number of immigrants did not suffer falls in jobs and that the immigrants also helped to reduce any deficit in the budget through paying more taxes than what they take out in welfare.
The British government through the White Paper have also confirmed that students who are currently enrolled and will still be eligible for loans and home fees for the entire duration of their course. Postgraduate students from EU who their courses start from 2017-2018 will still be eligible for funding too.
Does the UK Need Immigrants?
EU immigrants have played a big role in the growth of the UK economy since 2004. This is through their jobs in the construction and warehousing industry, and the hotels and restaurant industry. A prediction by PwC states that a 50% reduction in EU immigration will reduce the average GDP per capita by 0.2% come 2030. Maybe, given time and trained the residents will fill in the gaps left but it might take more than 6 years to do so.
The new immigration system is still uncertain, but it is very evident that immigrants have positively impacted the growth in Britain today. Caroline Nokes the immigration minister, stated that the government recognizes that EU citizens contribute largely to the country’s economy and the EU settlement scheme is there to provide a simple and straightforward way for them to acquire the status they need. The recent information suggests that just 4000 EU migrants were invited to use the first pilot of the EU settlement scheme, but a very low number of EU migrants used this service. The second phase of the EU settlement scheme is going to be rolled to more applicants in December 2018, so it yet to be seen if the scheme will be a success or not.
WH Solicitors specialise in EU law, and if you require advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.