Amber Rudd vows no post-Brexit ‘cliff edge’ on migration
Amber Rudd has assured migrants and businesses there will be no "cliff edge" on the UK's immigration system on the day it quits the EU.
The Home Secretary made the comments after her junior Brandon Lewis made the surprise announcement that free movement would officially end on the day the UK quits the EU in March 2019.
She said EU nationals will instead go through a "registration and documentation" process if they want to come to the UK under its transitional post-Brexit immigration arrangements.
Mr Lewis told the Today programme that an entirely new system would be in place by the time Britain is due to withdraw fully from the bloc, despite previous assertions from cabinet colleagues that free movement would continue until 2022.
The move would allow only six months to implement the findings of a report on migration, commissioned by the Home Secretary and to be carried out by the migration advisory committee, which is due to be released in September of next year.
Ms Rudd insisted yesterday that an “implementation phase” would be in place and that the “full, new EU immigration policy” would only come into force after a transitional period.
In her letter to the committee, she said ministers “do not envisage moving to that future system in a single step”.
Ms Rudd also said it was in the “interests of migrants, employers and the authorities” to have a clear cut and gradual process.
“The second phase of our immigration proposals is based on a temporary implementation period to ensure there is no cliff-edge for employers or individuals,” she added.
“This includes [a] grace period during which EU citizens who arrived before the specified date will have time to obtain their documentation.
“A registration system that enables EU citizens to demonstrate their right to live and work in the UK is the basic requirement to be able to operate any system of immigration control.”
She added: “After this implementation period, we will move to the third phase, which will be our long-term arrangements covering the migration of EU citizens, designed according to economic and social needs at the time, and reflecting our future deep and special partnership with the EU.”
'OFF THE SHELF'
Ms Rudd’s comments come as Chancellor Philip Hammond told business leaders he wants to negotiate an “off-the-shelf” transition deal with the EU for at least two years after Britain leaves the bloc.
The Financial Times reports that Mr Hammond wants a “standstill” transition which keeps full access to the single market and customs union for British business, with a further “implementation phase” in place until a trade deal is reached.