- The UK could grant limitless access to European migrants for more than two years after a no-deal Brexit, according to a report.
- Home secretary Sajid Javid will propose a plan to Cabinet which sees EU citizens granted unlimited access to the UK for 30 months if there is no deal.
- Javid believes the plan is necessary to protect the economy.
- The news also comes amid concerns that the Home Office, which is responsible for Britain’s borders, simply does not have the capacity to begin processing every inbound citizen coming to the UK.
LONDON – The UK could grant limitless access to European migrants for more than two years after a no-deal Brexit, according to a report.
Sajid David, the home secretary, will propose a plan to Cabinet which sees EU citizens waved through the border for 30 months if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal next year, the Times reported.
Any EU citizen arriving between March and September 2021 would be able to live temporarily in Britain as long as they show their passport and pass a criminal record check.
The move would essentially see the UK retain the EU freedom of movement policy, which allows European citizens to move freely around member states without having to apply for a visa.
Javid will outline his plans at a critical Cabinet meeting today on post-Brexit immigration policy. He will reportedly argue that EU citizens should ultimately receive no preferential treatment – in favour of a global system – once the 30-month unlimited access period ends.
Theresa May is also likely to discuss last week’s disastrous Salzburg summit, at which EU leaders called her Chequers Brexit plans unworkable.
A necessary move?
The move will be badly received by pro-Brexit MPs, who believe that the UK should take back control of Britain’s borders in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Javid reportedly believes that such a move is necessary to protect the economy, with EU migrants filling many job vacancies in crucial sectors including healthcare, construction, and agriculture.
Furthermore, the Home Office, which is responsible for Britain’s borders, does not have the capacity to begin processing every inbound citizen coming to the UK.
Currently, EU citizens face few checks and the UK’s staffing levels at borders reflects that. Over the summer, when the UK had more EU citizens arriving than it anticipated, there were hours-long queues at airports as the Border Force struggled to process new arrivals.
Business Insider reported in August that the Home Office was considering a plan to essentially retain free movement because it lacked the staffing capacity to implement new checks.
Despite protestations from Brexiteers, the UK appears to have little choice than to grant EU citizens continued unlimited access if it fails to secure a deal.
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