The migration advisers’ report shows free movement has been good for the UK – and when it ends, there will be consequences according to Professor Jonathan Portes of King’s College London, and the UK in a Changing Europe programme.
Back in 2007, Liam Byrne, then minister for immigration, decided to create a new, independent advisory committee to help the government set migration policy. He told me at the time that he hoped it would – as the monetary policy committee had done for interest rates – depoliticise the issue.
Things didn’t work out quite the way he planned. Immigration continues to be at the centre of the political debate. And that means the work of the labour market economists who make up the migration advisory committee (Mac) is not just technical economic analysis, but has important political implications.
Indeed, the government’s inability to take decisions on what the post-Brexit migration system would look like has meant that the Mac has, by default, become the only game in town.
Originally the government planned to publish a white paper on the post-Brexit immigration system last summer. That’s now been postponed until the end of this year. The Mac has been commissioned to analyse the impacts of migration from the EU, with a report to be published in September. That will inevitably play a major role in shaping the future system.
So what does today’s “interim report”, based mostly on evidence submitted by employers, tell us? First, that employers are very worried about the potential impact of ending free movement. This perhaps is no surprise.
Read the full article in the Guardian.
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