Meeting the Government’s target of cutting immigration to less than 100,000 will not only be extremely difficult, it is also overwhelmingly undesirable. The Case For Immigration concludes the net number of workers coming from overseas will have to reach an absolute minimum level of 200,000 a year for the foreseeable future if the UK is to sustain economic and productivity growth, stabilise the working age population and maintain public finances at a time when the number of pensioners is expected to double and prevent severe staff shortages in important industries and services including the NHS.
Britain’s negotiations with the EU around Brexit centre upon the extent to which the UK is prepared to accept freedom of movement of people in return for access to the single market. At times the UK Government has acted as if it can have both but the view from Europe is clear - there is a trade off to be negotiated.
Our analysis shows that while freedom of movement in the past has led to a sizeable influx of people from the EU, ending this right going forward will have only a marginal impact.