UK immigration campaign group Migration Watch UK has called for the government to ensure that a sharp fall in EU migration figures is a “red line” when it comes to Brexit trade negotiations.
In a new report, the group argues that the government must reject all calls from EU officials for concessions on UK immigration as part of Brexit negotiations, suggesting that no more than the movement of necessary staff for the transport of goods and services should be allowed.
According to the report, the EU has not previously suggested that freedom of movement should be a condition of an agreement between Britain and the EU, suggesting that the new insistence on “liberalised” borders is the result of political need rather than economic.
“The UK Government must maintain distinct separation between its trade negotiations and establishing a post-Brexit immigration policy,” said Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK. “A sharp reduction in immigration from the EU must be a red line in these negotiations, not a bargaining chip.”
According to figures, net migration to the UK has fallen as a result of the Brexit referendum, with an estimated 90,000 more EU migrants arriving in the UK than leaving in the year up to September 2017.
This marks a significant shift in migration figures, with net migration from the bloc not falling below 100,000 since the year to March 2013.
In response to the calls, a government spokesman stated that the Prime Minister remains firm in her plans to end free movement and retake full control over the country’s borders.
“After we have left the EU, we will put in place an immigration system that works for the whole of the UK,” they added.