MPs call on government to scrap migration targets and heal Brexit divide in industry backed report

31 July 2018 by
MPs call on government to scrap migration targets and heal Brexit divide in industry backed report

MPs on the influential Home Affairs Committee have called on the government to drop their target to see net migration fall to the "tens of thousands", and instead have a "measured debate" on immigration reform after Brexit.

Theresa May has long stood by her goal to reduce net migration to the "tens of thousands", both in her time as Home Secretary and during her tenure as Prime Minister, despite repeatedly missing the target.

The report also recommends negotiators reach out to the EU to build reciprocal agreements on immigration policy, no matter what deal is eventually struck at the end of Brexit talks.

Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, said: "Immigration was one of the central issues during the referendum and it divided the country, but sadly there has been no attempt by the government to hold any kind of sensible debate on it or build any kind of consensus on immigration since.

"That is deeply disappointing and it has left a vacuum-and it's really important that people don't exploit that again.

"The misinformation and tensions over immigration during the referendum campaign were deeply damaging and divisive.

"It is essential that does not happen again, and those who exploited concerns over immigration during the referendum need to be more honest and more responsible when it is debated in the run up to the final deal.

"We are calling for a measured debate and consultation on immigration options instead."

The report was welcomed by UKHospitality, who said the industry needs clarity on the future of immigration policy to plan for life after Brexit - stating that "the government must act quickly to ensure employers are not left behind".

Chief executive Kate Nicholls added: "The report has rightly identified the need for an open debate on immigration and the need to take into account a range of views, not least of all UK businesses.

"The country's future immigration policy should not be determined by a narrow ideological viewpoint, it should support the needs of the country and benefit the UK economy.

"We are hopeful that the Migration Advisory Committee's report will highlight role migrant workers play and their importance, particularly to hospitality."

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