Thursday, 23 February 2017

InFacts: Is EU migration falling faster than even ministers want?

InFacts: Is EU migration falling faster than even ministers want?

by Luke Lythgoe

"Still, it is notable how a number of government ministers were saying they wanted to keep the door open to at least some EU migrants even before these latest figures. Speaking to reporters in Tallinn, Estonia, this week Brexit minister David Davis suggested immigration of low-skilled Eastern European workers would continue for a long time yet.

“In the hospitality sector, hotels and restaurants, in the social-care sector, working in agriculture, it will take time – it will be years and years before we get British citizens to do those jobs.” He added: “Don’t expect just because we’re changing who makes the decision on the policy, the door will suddenly shut: it won’t.”

This didn’t please the hardest of Brexiters. Former minister Iain Duncan Smith told The Times he was surprised at the timescale, commenting: ““My sense is that it is going to happen quicker than that.”

But Davis’ comments fit well with a government coming to terms with the reality of abrupt restrictions on migrants. In September, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid suggested EU construction workers could still come if that’s what it took to tackle the UK’s housing crisis. Chancellor Philip Hammond had similar thoughts on financial professionals in the City."

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