Last updated: 01:48 PM ET, Fri June 24 2016

How Will Brexit Vote Impact Immigration in Britain?

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | June 24, 2016

How Will Brexit Vote Impact Immigration in Britain?

Illustration courtesy of Thinkstock

British officials have announced the decision for the country to remove itself from the European Union, and people are now asking how the decision will impact immigration moving forward.

According to the Daily Mirror, 333,000 immigrants entered the United Kingdom last year, with 184,000 coming from nations within the European Union, making up .29 percent of the country’s population.

While supporters of the Brexit decision believe splitting from the EU will not have an impact on immigrants from countries in the union who are living and working in Britain, most experts believe there will be at least some profound changes to immigration and border controls.

One possible change that could come from the Brexit vote is in regard to the Le Touquet agreement which allows the United Kingdom to control its border with France from the French side of the channel.

While not directly related to the Brexit vote, French officials are expected to be less willing to work with Britain now that the country has decided to leave the EU. French economy minister Emmanuel Macron had stated before the vote that migrant camps around the Port of Calais would have to be moved to Dover if Britain left the EU.

One of the proposals for which immigrants will be allowed into Britain following the vote to exit the EU was an “Australian-style” points system. Using a selection scheme that includes migrants with employer sponsorship programs and a skilled migration visa, Brexit supporters claim more qualified workers would be allowed to enter the country from outside the EU.

On the other hand, a study from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development found that the influx of migrant workers from the EU had boosted the United Kingdom’s economy and helped balance the country’s labor market.

Those arguing against the Australian-style immigration policies cite the fact that the country is looking to grow its population, while Britain is looking to limit the number of immigrants entering the country.

Exactly how the Brexit vote will impact migration is still very much uncertain.

“It's quite simple. When the economy is doing well, people will come in higher numbers for work, and when it slows, you will see those numbers drop,” Ian Preston of the University College London's Department of Economics told Daily Mirror. “We don't know what the government will do with the immigration system if it leaves the EU, but we certainly can't say it would reduce migration without having significant, profound economic costs.”


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