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Proposed EU immigration plan met with heavy backlash from UK trade groups

One of the biggest concerns regarding the current status of Britain’s EU negotiations is how the economic migration of European workers will be affected, and how will this affect the British economy. As of yet, the government’s specific plan for an immigration system once the UK has separated from the EU is unclear and various different projections have been circulating.

The Migration Advisory Committee (also known as MAC) recently released a strategy for completely scrapping existing immigration plans and replacing them with a system that would dramatically cut the amount of ‘low-skilled’ EU economic migrants coming into the UK. Their recommendations include removing the existing cap on highly-skilled European workers and introducing a base salary requirement of £30,000 in order to be eligible.

This hypothetical plan from the MAC has been met with heavy backlash from both trade groups and independent think-tanks, with criticism being levelled primarily at the potentially devastating effects to the UK economy. The proposed based salary requirement as well as the skills and education requirement could lead to as much as 75% of current EU migrants being classed as ineligible, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research. In lower-skilled industries, this figure is disproportionately higher – for example, the IPPR’s investigation found that approximately 95% of EU workers would be ineligible should these recommendations become policy.

Further criticism has been directed towards MAC’s aim of ending UK reliance on low-skilled European workers but with no concrete plan with how to balance out the inevitable losses of cutting large numbers of the workforce. Members of trade organisations such as Richard Burnett, head of the Road Haulage Association have also condemned the ‘elitist’ ideas of solely prioritising highly-skilled professions to the detriment of all others.

The Migration Advisory Committee is not a governmental body, so this recently-released set of proposals and recommendations are not bound to become immigration policy but, as yet, the path that the current government will follow when it comes to EU migration is still unknown.

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