Immigration post-Brexit: evidence provided to the Home Affairs Select Committee
The Home Affairs Select Committee held a wide ranging inquiry with the aim of establishing what areas of common ground exist and to make a positive contribution to developing an effective post-Brexit immigration policy.
We provided the Committee with evidence of the kind of approach the government could take on immigration and the principles for any immigration framework. The main points made in our submission were:
- Any immigration framework should be shaped by its adherence to the rule of law and the principle of administrative fairness. The Home Office specifically should:
(a) Ensure transparency, fairness and accountability - any new immigration system that fails to uphold these principles could result in delays, appeals and litigation which is costly for the government, and an inevitable strain on families, individuals and communities. In the last year we have seen migrant appeal rights drastically reduced alongside no real improvement in the quality of Home Office decision making which has been a long standing problem.
Base the system on reliable evidence -any changes to the legal framework for immigration and the entitlements and rights of individuals should also be guided by reliable evidence.
Ensure the new administrative system is properly resourced - the government's approach must be mindful of the need to properly resource operational capability to deal with the inevitable increase in workload that will accompany changes to the legal framework arising from Brexit. For instance, the current process for EU citizens seeking permanent residence in the UK is extremely labour intensive and risks administrative overload for the Home Office if it is to continue. Any new systems put in place must be accompanied by adequate processes, resources, technology and trained staff.
Aim to simplify and reduce the cost of the system - in recent years, there have been many changes in nationality and immigration law, policy and procedure in relation to all migration routes. From our perspective, post-2010 this has resulted in an overly complex and costly system. In asylum claims, inadequate judicial and other resources or quality administrative and enforcement decisions have contributed to those costs.
- A new entry scheme for EU citizens wishing to work in the UK must be workable for employers of all sizes and shapes. It must also recognise and be responsive to the needs of those sectors of industry, agriculture and business where EU workers are key to their future sustainability and growth. It must be transparent and easy to follow.
- For legal services, the government should maintain flexibility in the immigration system to ensure that legal businesses can maintain their pre-eminence and remain globally competitive.