A leaked Home Office document has drawn criticism for outlining stringent proposals to reduce net migration after Brexit and place even greater burdens on businesses.
The 82-page paper, published by The Guardian tonight, says firms could be required to undertake “right to work” checks on employees, under the potential threat of criminal sanctions.
Seamus Nevin from the Institute of Directors said that while the document’s proposals were leaked and were yet to be confirmed by the government, they would prove unpopular with bosses.
“At face value, this is obviously not an approach that business leaders – especially of small-and medium-sized firms – will want to see. Businesses are not the border agency. The Home Office is not ‘taking back control’ if it expects employers to do the immigration checks for them,” Nevin said.
London mayor Sadiq Khan called the plans a “blueprint on how to strangle our economy".
Leaked plans to deter EU migrants are a blueprint on how to strangle our economy. Wrong for London & for Britain https://t.co/ZOonKts4aJ— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) September 5, 2017
The Home Office outlined possible measures to hit its EU immigration targets that included giving “preference in the job market to resident workers” through an economic needs test which employers would be required to complete.
Jonathan Portes, an economist at King's College London, said the proposals tried to do too much and ended up placing the burden on employers.
Instead of being about border control, he said the plans were "about a new system for controls over, primarily, employers."
"It is very unclear what the obligations will be on employers," Portes added.
A government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked draft documents.
“We will be setting out our initial proposals for a new immigration system which takes back control of the UK’s borders later in the autumn.”