Guy Verhofstadt: Leaked UK immigration plans have ‘poisoned the diplomatic well’
Leaked Home Office plans to curb the number of low skilled migrants coming to Britain after Brexit has “poisoned the diplomatic well”, the European parliament's chief negotiator has said.
Guy Verhofstadt's intervention follows the revelation of secret Government proposals to enforce a "more selective approach" on those entering the country to work the day after Brexit.
The document, which was initially seen by the Guardian, puts a greater emphasis on jobs for British workers and makes clear that those seeking low-skilled work will have their residency limited to just two years.
The former Belgian Prime Minister hit out at the proposals and tweeted that “EU & UK citizens deserve stability & certainty”.
He told The Independent: “After a number of meetings in the European Parliament where this issue was raised by fellow MEPs, it’s clear to me that these policies, if implemented, will only serve to further poison the diplomatic well and erode trust in the capability of the British Home Office to deliver a fair and immigration system for EU citizens in the future."
Those in “high-skilled occupations” will be able to stay for between three to five years, according to the 82-page document.
New restrictions on European nationals bringing family members to the UK are also floated in the document, which is dated to August 2017.
"The Government will take a view on the economic and social needs of the country as regards EU migration, rather than leaving this decision entirely to those wishing to come here and employers," the paper says.
When pressed on the leaked papers at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Theresa May said:
“Overall immigration has been good for the UK, but people want to see it controlled.”
She added that immigration had an impact on “access to services and on infrastructure, but crucially also because it often hits those at the lower end of the income scale hardest”.