In a new report, The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the progressive policy think tank, makes the case for a new deal on migration as part of the Brexit negotiations that allows free movement but only for those working in particular occupations or sectors. IPPR argues that in a UK-EU agreement on migration, the government should consider how to secure an ambitious free trade deal, and how best to avoid negative effects on the labour market, as well as address public concern on immigration. According to the report migration is expected to be front and centre in the forthcoming EU negotiations and, given the importance of Brexit in the 2017 General Election, all political parties will need to make a decision on the issue of immigration for their manifestos.
IPPR analysis shows that:
• Based on evidence from past trade deals, opting to exclude immigration from the Brexit negotiations would significantly increase the likelihood of a limited and disadvantageous trade deal.
• Certain sectors, such as hotels and restaurants and manufacturing, rely heavily on lower-skilled EU labour – 28% of the food manufacturing workforce and 19% of domestic personnel are EU nationals in lower-skilled work.
• Only 11% of the UK public expect full control over EU immigration post-Brexit and, excluding the ‘don’t knows’, a majority accept that there is a trade-off between restricting freedom of movement and accessing the single market.