23rd Mar 2018

UK requests EU migration study, 13 months after Brexit vote

  • UK government asks committee to assess the role of migrant workers from EU (Photo: Chris Goldberg/Flickr)

The UK's home affairs minister has asked the country's migration advisory committee for a “detailed assessment” of the role migration of EU citizens plays in the UK economy, she announced in an op-ed on Thursday (27 July).

“We will be asking the committee to examine the British labour market, the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy,” home secretary Amber Rudd wrote in the Financial Times.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Home secretary Amber Rudd said the committee 'will look at the overall picture, moving beyond individual bits of anecdotal evidence' (Photo: Council of the European Union)

She said the committee “will look at the overall picture, moving beyond individual bits of anecdotal evidence and allowing us to make policy on high-quality evidence”.

The move comes more than thirteen months after the referendum on the UK's EU membership, in which 51.9 percent voted to leave.

The British media reported that the final outcome of the report is not expected until September 2018, seven months before the end of the two-year negotiating period with the EU.

Rudd said the committee “will be beginning its work shortly”.

She also said that the UK government will “set out some initial thinking on options for the future immigration system” this autumn, but that the committee's report and “the views of a range of stakeholders” will be taken into account before making any final decisions.

Rudd added that she wanted to “reassure businesses and EU nationals that we will ensure there is no 'cliff edge' once we leave the bloc”.


Politicians from the opposition criticised the timing.

“It beggars belief that the government have taken a year to get round to asking for expert evidence on the role played by EU nationals in our country,” said Labour MP Heidi Alexander, according to the Guardian.

“The timing of this announcement shows the total lack of preparation and understanding that has typified this government’s attitude to Brexit so far,” the MP added.

Another opposition MP, Ed Davey, from the Liberal Democrat party, said: “The government needs to explain why this study wasn’t commissioned a year ago, directly after the referendum.”

Food supply

The government has received criticism over its apparent lack of preparation from other corners, too.

Earlier this month, three professors from the universities of London, Essex, and Cardiff, wrote a critical report about the government's food policy.

Tim Lang, Erik Millstone, and Terry Marsden wrote that “the prospect of loss of access to EU migrant labour is one of the UK food industry’s greatest concerns”.

The UK food sector is heavily dependent on migrant workers from the EU and the “prospect of ending EU free flow of labour strikes horror into many a farm and food enterprise”, the authors of the report said.

“The government has long been made aware of this, but has failed to indicate if it will address the problem, let alone how,” they said.

The authors concluded that, consequently, the UK's food security is at risk.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

Brexit talks restart in sense of urgency

The first full round of Brexit talks on key issues kicks off on Monday, while infighting heats up in the UK government over its strategy.

UK leaves fishing convention amid Brexit talks

The UK announced it would leave the London fisheries convention, which allows mutual fishing close to the coast, arguing that it is taking back control of its waters. But Brussels warns: Brexit talks will decide that.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Corbyn re-opens Labour's single market wound

The Labour leader has put his Brexit cards on the table again but it stands to divide the party, which still has a strong pro-EU following.

UK and EU stuck on 'philosophy' of Brexit bill

The lack of a UK position on a financial settlement is becoming a crucial obstacle in Brexit talks, amid "philosophical" differences on what the money should pay for.


No precedents for post-Brexit Irish border

Glib comparisons with the US-Canada border, or municipal boundaries within London, do not stand up to scrutiny - or the reality of an internal Irish border with 275 crossing points in a land beset by 30 years of armed conflict.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions