The White Paper, published today, sets out the government's plans for a 'principled and practical Brexit'. The paper describes their vision for a "deep and comprehensive partnership" with the EU which will ensure the UK's economic integrity. It has been made clear that EU free movement will end however the Home Office have indicated that they are open to future economic arrangements which will allow highly skilled migrants to come to the UK.
It is most disappointing to hear that the government's immigration target may stay after Brexit. The target was first introduced by David Cameron in 2010. He promised to decrease net migration to the tens of thousands. This target has never been met and current net migration is around 244,000. This target is widely considered to be unrealistic.
There have been calls from the Home Affairs Committee and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to do away with the target. The fact remains that a thriving economy needs migrant workers and holding onto a restrictive target can only do harm. The current target will certainly not assist Britain in becoming the thriving global economy that the government has promised the British people.
The document said that on movement for workers after Brexit, “the UK’s future economic partnership should therefore provide reciprocal arrangements, consistent with the ending of free movement”, including measures that “support businesses to provide services and to move their talented people”. There was little further detail on how migration arrangements could work after Brexit, however, although a white paper has been promised in the autumn. Officials have indicated that the notional cap on net immigration at 100,000 a year will remain after the UK departs.