Brexit and UK and EU immigration policy

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Political Economy

Abstract

This project will examine the implications of Brexit for the current arrangements for free movement of workers within the EU; and the resulting economic (and political) implications for the UK. We will focus on the following topics:

(i) Options for a new post-Brexit immigration system. Brexit is likely to result in the most far-reaching changes to the UK immigration system since (at least) the Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1962. As yet, there is little or no detail on what a new system might look like. As the Brexit process and negotiations progress, we will provide a comprehensive analysis of the possible options and of the (political, administrative and legal) feasibility of proposals from the government and others.

(ii) Legal and administrative implications. Changes to free movement will have implications that go well beyond what happens at the UK's borders, or indeed the immigration system itself. They will require profound changes to UK law, in particular employment law, and on our current system of labour market regulation. We will aim to explore and explain these implications, in particular how they are likely to affect employers, businesses and individuals.

(ii) Economic and labour market impacts. Changes to free movement and the broader immigration system will have significant effects on the UK economy and labour market. We will aim to produce evidence-based assessments of these economic and labour market impacts, moving beyond the necessarily broad-brush approaches of previous analyses, and based on the most recent empirical literature

(iv) Interaction with other aspects of Brexit - in particular trade in services The Brexit debate so far has tended to regard trade and migration a as two separate issues - linked politically, but not economically. But trade in services and free movement of workers are closely related, practically, legally and economically. We will explore the interactions between the two; the implications for future trading arrangements between the UK and EU; and potential broader impacts on key sectors.

In all of these areas our aim will be to produce timely and accessible, but rigorous analysis of potential policies and their impacts. At the same time we will track and participate in the ongoing public debate, and will adjust our research agenda to reflect wider political and policy developments to ensure our continued relevance. The outputs will be a combination of synthesis of existing work across a number of disciplines and new research, quantitative and qualitative. Building on UKICE's existing networks and strong track record, as well as our own media profiles and policy contacts, we envisage a very active programme of dissemination through both traditional and innovative channels.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research?

Key beneficiaries will be

a) UK and international media; there will be high demand for commentary and articles on the policy options, implementation and economic impacts of post-Brexit migration policies, during the course of the negotiations. The PI/all CIs appear regularly on a variety of media outlets in both print and broadcast media, in the UK and internationally.

b) policymakers. The PI/CIs all testify frequently before Parliamentary Select Committees on migration-related issues and will be undoubtedly requested to appear multiple times during the course of the Brexit process. We will also offer informal briefings to senior policymakers across Westminster and Whitehall, as well as key actors in local government seeking to understand the implications of changing migration policies (e.g. the Strategic Migration Partnerships) .

c) general public. The PI/CIs will speak at invited lectures, debates, panels and public meetings.

How will they benefit from this research?

The media and hence the general public will benefit from access to informed and objective expert opinion on the implications of different policy options; policymakers will benefit from access to timely advice; business, employers and the private sector will benefit from analysis of the detailed legal and administrative implications of possible changes to law and policy. The PI/CIs all have an exceptionally strong track record in this respect already, both in general and with specific reference to Brexit and migration.

What will be done to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from
this activity?

The PI/CIs are all experienced in ensuring that their academic research reaches a wider audience (see above). In addition, the team will work closely with the UK in a Changing Europe team (of which Barnard and Portes are already Senior Fellows) to ensure that the research contributes to the wider work of UKICE. They will also carefully maintain their independence and objectivity in this highly charged political debate.
 
Description We have made a substantial contribution to exploring the economic, political, legal and administrative issues relating to the status of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit. We have also explored the implications of possible options for the post-Brexit immigration system, with Portes examining options for free movement after Brexit, while Sumption examined options for a new system if free movement ends. Portes has continued to analyse the economic implications of reductions in immigration, and has found that Brexit is likely to have significant impacts on migration flows and hence on the wider economy: early evidence suggests that this was accurate. Both Portes and Peers have testified to the European Parliament on citizens' rights; all of us have testified before Parliamentary select committees both on this issue and on broader issues related to Brexit and migration. Portes's research on the impact of immigration on productivity and training, showing that the impact of migration to the UK was broadly positive for productivity and neutral for training, contributed to the Migration Advisory Committee's report on the impact of EEA migration. Sumption's work on the impact of changes to the migration system on high and low skilled migration contributed to the Government's White Paper on migration policy. Both Sumption and Portes's research was referenced in the Migration Advisory Committee report on points-based systems and therefore reflected in the recent government announcement on post-Brexit immigration policy.
Exploitation Route Our findings are already being put to use by MPs. Parliamentary Select Committees, the European Parliament, and policymakers, in a) constructing proposals, both legal and administrative, on the status of EU citizens resident in the UK after Brexit and b) in devising the post-Brexit immigration system for the UK. Peers and Portes, in particular, influenced the design and implementation of the settled status scheme. Portes's research on the impact of immigration on productivity and training, showing that the impact of migration to the UK was broadly positive for productivity and neutral for training, contributed to the Migration Advisory Committee's report on the impact of EEA migration. Sumption's work on the impact of changes to the migration system on high and low skilled migration contributed to the Government's White Paper on migration policy. The research has contributed in a number of ways to policy development on immigration policy after Brexit, as referenced in the Migration Advisory Committee report on points-based systems and reflected in the recent government announcement on post-Brexit immigration policy.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail

URL http://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/jonathan-portes/
 
Description We have made a substantial contribution to the public and policydebate on the economic, political, legal and administrative issues relating to the status of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit; and on the implications of possible options for the post-Brexit immigration system, with Portes examining options for free movement after Brexit, while Sumption examined options for a new system if free movement ends. Portes has continued to analyse the economic implications of reductions in immigration and has written extensively in the press on this issue. Sumption and Portes are frequently interviewed on the broadcast media on immigration isssues. Both Portes and Peers have testified to the European Parliament on citizens' rights; all of us have testified before Parliamentary select committees both on this issue and on broader issues related to Brexit and migration. We have contributed a number of articles to the national press, mostly on issues relating to citizens' rights and to the future immigration system. The research has contributed in a number of ways to policy development on immigration policy after Brexit, as referenced in the Migration Advisory Committee report on points-based systems and reflected in the recent government announcement on post-Brexit immigration policy. Our findings are already being put to use by MPs. Parliamentary Select Committees, the European Parliament, and policymakers, in a) constructing proposals, both legal and administrative, on the status of EU citizens resident in the UK after Brexit and b) in devising the post-Brexit immigration system for the UK. Peers and Portes, in particular, influenced the design and implementation of the settled status scheme. Portes's research on the impact of immigration on productivity and training, showing that the impact of migration to the UK was broadly positive for productivity and neutral for training, contributed to the Migration Advisory Committee's report on the impact of EEA migration. Sumption's work on the impact of changes to the migration system on high and low skilled migration contributed to the Government's White Paper on migration policy.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description House of Commons and House of Lords Select Committee appearances
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Testimony by Jonathan Portes, Catherine Barnard, Steve Peers and Madeleine Sumption to various select committees on aspects of Brexit and the immigration process. Immediate direct impacts on the "settled status" scheme, both in respect of legal issues and administrative mechanisms (eg the use of DWP/HMRC data to verify status as suggested by Portes)
 
Description Articles on UK in a Changing Europe website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blogs by Jonathan Portes, Catherine Barnard, Steve Peers and Madeleine Sumption on immigration, free movement, and Brexit (more than 50 in total)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
URL http://ukandeu.ac.uk
 
Description Conference on Immigration after Brexit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Interdisciplinary conference on immigration after Brexit, open to academics, journalists, policymakers and others.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ukandeu.ac.uk/event/immigration-after-brexit-law-policy-and-economics/
 
Description Media appearances 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Media appearances by Jonathan Portes, Catherine Barnarda and Madeleine Sumption on all major broadcast outlets (Radio 4 including Today Programme, World at 1 and World Tonight; BBC News and News Channel: Channel 4 News; ITN; SKY; Radio 5 Live, etc). Media appearances in foreign media (TV and radio news in almost all EU Member States, US, Canada, China, Australia and others).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
 
Description Newspaper articles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Newspaper articles on immigration, free movement and Brexit by Jonathan Portes and Catherine Barnard in the Telegraph, Guardian, Times, Independent, New Statesman and others.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
 
Description Published articles and blogs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Multiple press articles and blogs, including Times, Telegraph, New Statesman, Guardian, etc. All are reproduced or linked to from my UK in a Changing Europe webpage http://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/jonathan-portes/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL http://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/jonathan-portes/