Government performs u-turn on post-Brexit immigration plans
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has slapped down his immigration minister for suggesting companies would have to check when an EU migrant came to the UK before giving them a job after Brexit.
Caroline Nokes made the claim during an appearance before MPs on Wednesday, saying employers would need to carry out “rigorous checks” to discover if an EU national had arrived in the UK before or after March 29 2019 in the case of no deal with Brussels.
Business groups reacted with dismay to the revelation, claiming they had not been informed of the extra red tape requirement.
Speaking on ITV’s Peston just hours later, Javid contradicted Nokes as claimed employers would carry on with current procedures in case of no deal on an interim basis.
He said: “We’ve just got to be practical. If there was a no deal, if, we won’t be able to immediately distinguish between those Europeans that were already here before March 29, and those who came after, and therefore as a result I wouldn’t expect employers to do anything different than they do today
He added: “There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period, these are the kind of things I’ve been working on for months and months.”
The UK’s immigration policy after Brexit is coming under increasing scrutiny as time ticks down to the UK’s departure from the EU.
The government has yet to reveal what system it will adopt, by Theresa May has repeatedly said free movement of EU workers to the UK will come to an end.
The cabinet agreed in September that EU citizens should be subject to the same rules as non-EU workers in any future arrangement.
In her appearance before the Home Affairs select committee on Wednesday, Nokes set out the additional work employers would have to do before offering a job to an EU migrant in case of a no deal Brexit.
She said: “If somebody hasn’t been here prior to the end of March next year, employers will have to make sure they go through adequately rigorous checks to evidence somebody’s right to work.”
Nokes went on to admit she did not know how employers would carry out those checks.
The Home Office later issued a statement rowing back from her comments, stating: “Employers will not be expected to differentiate between resident EU citizens and those arriving after exit.”