Immigration would be unlikely to fall significantly if Britain left the European Union, according to a report by the free market thinktank Open Europe.
Clamping down on immigration is one of the central arguments of leave campaigners in the run-up to the 23 June referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU.
But in a report titled “Where next? A liberal, free market guide to Brexit,” Open Europe points out that other large, developed economies with low unemployment tend to attract high levels of immigration, even without espousing the EU principle of free movement.
“We don’t think immigration is likely to be reduced that much outside the EU, despite the political pressure,” said the thinktank’s co-director Stephen Booth. “The UK is not alone in experiencing quite high levels of immigration.”
Between 2000 and 2015, he pointed out, the UK received an average of 3.7 migrants per 1000 of the population each year. The average for members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – in general, the large, industrialised countries – was 3.1.
He added that Canada, Norway and Switzerland, all countries sometimes highlighted by Brexit campaigners as representing a model for a better relationship with the EU, have all experienced higher levels of net immigration.
A very plausible conclusion. The needs of the economy would dictate that we still required high levels of immigration post-Brexit. Some of the Brexitees, such as Douglas Carswell are even openly pro-immigration.