Uncertainty in Brexit talks could cause immigration ‘surge,’ UK lawmakers warn

31 January 2017 9:57am

27 July 2016. By Lewis Crofts.

A lack of clarity about the status of EU citizens living in the UK and uncertainty about how migration will be handled during exit negotiations could cause a “surge in immigration,” members of the British Parliament have warned.

The quarterly report from the Home Affairs Committee says the government needs to move quickly to establish its stance on the free movement of citizens in the bloc.

“Post-Brexit attempts to limit non-EU migration, and the uncertainty over migration within Europe during the exit negotiations, could both lead to a surge in immigration,” the committee said in a statement.

Negotiations on a Brexit are expected to focus on one main tradeoff: The UK’s desire to limit migration yet retain access to the EU’s lucrative market for its businesses.

The government has attracted criticism for not stating unambiguously that EU citizens currently resident in the UK won’t see their status endangered.

“The committee says EU citizens resident in the UK and Brits living and working in Europe must not be used as ‘bargaining chips’ in the Brexit negotiations, and government must move quickly to establish certainty over their status and the new rules on free movement — if they change significantly,” the lawmakers said.

“EU citizens living and working in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU, need certainty on where they stand in relation to the UK leaving the EU.”

The committee said it would “likely become more difficult to remove EU national offenders from the UK ‘on paper,’ as well as in practice, post-Brexit.”

This means that EU prisoners in UK jails need to be removed before Brexit happens, Keith Vaz, a Labourite who chairs the committee.

Brexit Special Report