DEBATE: Is it acceptable that EU migrants will be able to enter the UK without border checks after Brexit?
YES – Atul Hatwal, director of the Migration Matters Trust.
It’s not just acceptable, it’s essential. Thousands of businesses that employ millions of Britons depend on EU migrants’ skills to stay open. When Britain narrowly voted for Brexit – and let’s not forget London voted strongly to Remain – there was a trenchant dishonesty on the Leave side about the consequences for British jobs of slashing EU migration. If British businesses cannot meet their orders because of skills gaps they will cut back and job losses will follow. The bulk of these losses will be felt by British citizens who make up the majority of the workforce. Even in industries like hospitality, where migrants constitute a relatively high proportion of employees, government figures show that three in five workers are Brits. At the moment there are the best part of 1m vacancies in the British economy and unemployment is at a 42 year low. British businesses are already desperate for staff with the right skills. Continued EU migration after Brexit will be vital to sustaining British jobs and prosperity.
NO – John Longworth, co-chair of Leave Means Leave.
When the people of Britain voted to leave the EU they did so for a variety of reasons. Not least among these was the desire to control our borders. Defence, security, and the control of borders is the first duty of government. It is the contract between those who govern and the governed. It is the reason in the first place that societies were created, that free people acquiesced to be governed. Security is not the only driver for border control however. It is estimated that every migrant in a low paid job costs Britain on average, around £3,500 pa. Other migrants are in the black economy. All this has contributed greatly to the downward pressure on wages. The unlimited supply of cheap labour has led to less training and investment and therefore, to low productivity growth. Irrespective of whether migrants have work permits, every civilised country has a system of checking people when they arrive and when they leave, and understanding why they are in the country. If the government gives away this fundamental duty, it will confirm that many of its Brexit policy proposals appear to be adding up to a massive fraud on the electorate.