Freedom of movement could be retained for "several years" after Brexit, a leading think tank has claimed

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Survey Indicates Scotland Have Different Views On Migration From Rest Of UK
The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

UK businesses could retain access to skilled European workers for “several years” after Brexit, a think tank has claimed.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has stressed the government’s commitment to migration reform, but a new report says a new system is unlikely to be in place before the UK quits the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the two year process of talks in late March, but the Institute for Government said today that implementation of a new immigration system by April 2019 is “unfeasible”.

As a result, it has called on the UK to maintain the existing rules, which allow EU citizens to move to, and work in the UK, until a replacement is ready.

Read More: Half of London businesses say cutting migration would hit growth

IfG research Joe Owen said: “Brexit is an opportunity to design an immigration system that is more effective for the country and less burdensome for employers.

“It’s important that the Government avoids making multiple changes and introducing unnecessary disruption and confusion. To provide stability, we should continue with the existing migration system until the new one is ready.”

The Institute of Directors’ head of employment and skill policy Seamus Nevin said maintaining the current rules would be welcomed by employers, with repeated reform likely to create “a bureaucratic nightmare”

“If something’s worth doing it’s worth doing right, so if that means continuing with current arrangements for a period of a few years until the Home Office can put the infrastructure in place to implement a new system, then it will be worth the wait,” Nevin said.

Read More: Former Cameron advisor: May's views on immigration are "restricted"

The report comes as business groups continue to push Rudd and Prime Minister Theresa May to be cautious on migration policy.

Last month, British Chambers of Commerce director general Adam Marshall told City A.M. the government’s long-standing net migration target of less than 100,000 was “arbitrary” and risked dissuading talented workers from coming to the UK.

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