Home Secretary Sajid Javid faces criticism from MPs after he told the Radio 4 Today Programme that it is “very unlikely” that the government’s immigration plans will be published before the vote on the UK’s withdrawal agreement.
Edward Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, described the situation as “shocking and unacceptable” in a tweet posted this morning.
Brexit & immigration: shocking & unacceptable for Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to admit @BBCr4today the Immigration White Paper will not be published before the Brexit vote. For a “meaningful vote”, MPs need to know what might happen to immigration IF we leave @LibDems
— Edward Davey (@EdwardJDavey) December 3, 2018
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Sajid Javid said that the Prime Minister’s post-Brexit immigration plans will be “the most significant change we are going to see as we take control of our immigration system, so it’s important we work on the details.”
Javid said: “we are going to have an immigration system that is in our national interest…we will bring a complete end to free movement.”
Javid’s announcement comes only weeks after the Office of National Statistics announced that the number of EU workers fell by 132,000 in 2018, the largest drop since records began.
In London, several sectors are especially reliant on EU-born workers, particularly the NHS. EU nationals make up 10 percent of London’s NHS workforce, compared to five percent in the rest of England. Meanwhile, 13 percent of doctors and nurses in London are EU-born, compared to four percent in the rest of England.
Other industries in London, such as hospitality, are also heavily reliant on EU-born workers according to a report by the London Assembly. Research suggests EU workers are much more likely to take temporary work with flexible or ‘zero-hour’ contracts.
In addition, 16% of researchers in British Universities come from the EU and 40% of academics said they are more likely to consider leaving the UK following the EU referendum, following a UCU survey of 1000 lecturers and professors.
The Prime Minister’s proposed ‘skill-based’ immigration policy has been criticised for unfairly restricting lower-income migrants. Caroline Fairbairn from the Confederation of British Industry said: “the idea that there is a £30,000 cap below which is low-skilled and not welcome in the UK is a damaging perspective.”
The Home Secretary said that the government was using evidence found in an independent study by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to inform their immigration policy.
“We are going to look at the evidence that has been provided by MAC that clearly, your salary is one of the indicators of skill levels,” Javid told the Today Programme. “We want to set that salary at a level that helps to pull up domestic wages, but it also allows us to bring in the people that we may need to power our industries.”
Javid said that the government’s goal was to “bring net migration down to more sustainable levels that still meets the demands of British industry.”
In response to the interview, MPs took to twitter to criticise the government’s decision not to publish the Immigration White Paper.
Yet more government policy that won’t be revealed until *after* our vote on the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement. It’s not good enough. Another reason to add to the growing list for a #PeoplesVoteNow https://t.co/yS6xgIldVX
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) December 3, 2018
A healthy democracy, our laws, our money and our trade are key parts of why people chose to leave the E.U. So was controlling our borders but the government is publishing the immigration White Paper after the Withdrawal vote.
It seems a little odd. https://t.co/JMqQnFC2l0
— Chris Green (@CGreenUK) December 3, 2018
Others criticised the government’s stance on immigration and the end of free movement, which Javid himself called “the biggest change in our immigration system in four decades.”
Sajid Javid unconvincing on @BBCr4today on why he is stopping freedom of movement while being ‘a big fan of immigration.’ Won’t discuss statistics; just waffles about undefined ‘sustainability’ & ‘high skills’. I doubt he really agrees with what he is saying
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) December 3, 2018
The government’s vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement takes place on December 11th.