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Press releases

Business leaders want net migration target scrapped after Brexit

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Business leaders have urged the government to scrap its plan to cut net migration to below 100,000 after Brexit.

The Confederation of British Industry said EU migrants were “profoundly important” to the British economy and “will be needed in the future”.

It said schools and hospitals should see funding boosts in areas where immigration has led to increased demand.

Concerns about unfettered immigration from the EU is widely assumed to have been a key factor in the vote to leave the bloc in 2016.

Ministers have long promised to cut net immigration numbers to the tens of thousands - but the CBI said the Government should scrap targets and develop a system which would benefit the economy.

“The stakes are high. Get it wrong, and the UK risks having too few people to run the health service, pick food crops or deliver products to stores around the country,” it argued.

“We also risk harming our future as a global innovation hub, rooted in our longstanding ability to attract talented people the world over.”

The CBI added that it would be “entirely unworkable” to simply include EU nationals in the “highly complex” migration system for the rest of the world after Brexit.

It said EU citizens should instead be registered on arrival and have their visits restricted to three months, "unless they can prove that they are working, studying or are self-sufficient".

But the Home Office said: “After we leave the EU we will end free movement and put in place a system which works in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

“We are considering a range of options that will ensure that we are in control of our borders and managing migration, while continuing to attract and retain people who come here to work and bring significant benefits.”

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