A tough permit scheme should limit the number of EU workers into Britain after Brexit to 30,000 highly skilled people a year, say experts.The move would cut annual net migration from the EU – those arriving minus those leaving – by around 100,000, Migration Watch UK calculates.The think tank’s report does not back restricting European tourists, business visitors, students or retired people coming to the UK, nor recommend removing EU citizens already here.
But it believes its formula would support UK economic growth by ensuring British employers get the staff they need while putting the brakes on years of EU immigration.It estimates about a fifth of EU workers who arrived here in the last decade are in jobs that would qualify for the tough work permits.It is the first time Migration Watch has said how many EU workers it thinks the UK should admit.
It comprises the average of 25,000 people doing graduate level jobs or ones in areas where there is a shortage of people who have come to Britain from other EU countries each year since 2006, plus 5,000 to allow for growth.Alp Mehmet, Migration Watch UK vice-chairman, said: “A sensible limit on skilled EU migration would maintain the inflow of qualified EU workers who benefit our society and economy while allowing some room for expansion.”
Official figures last month showed net migration running at 327,000 a year, more than three times the Tory aim of under 100,000.Around 127,000 had no fixed job to come to. Net migration of EU citizens stood at 180,000 and some 77,000 Europeans intending to stay at least a year had no specific job lined up.