United Kingdom orders study looking at impact of ending free European Union movement

Nigel Farage

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But Labour's Pat McFadden, a former Europe minister, speaking on behalf of Open Britain, the group that campaigns to keep close ties with the European Union, said: "This is a shambles".

Hammond told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there must be "business as usual, life as normal" for Britons as the United Kingdom exits the EU.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Thursday announced the launch of a study of the "costs and benefits" of European Union immigration, to be completed by September 2018 - just over six months before Britain is set to leave the bloc.

A report is expected in September 2018, six months before Brexit.

Amber Rudd has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to carry out the investigation and pledges that a cliff-edge scenario will be avoided. Rudd was a strong advocate for Remain in last year's referendum, and is seen as one of the more liberal voices in the government. The report will inform new rules for immigration after Britain leaves the bloc and the free movement of people ends.

Brexiteers, on the other hand, "want to end free movement altogether" and to subject European Union migrants to the same work permit system as those from outside the EU. The nature of any transitional period has yet to be decided, and will depend on negotiations with the EU.

The EU's negotiating guidelines are clear that the red lines and principles agreed by the 27 member states would also apply to any interim deal: The UK will not be able to cherry-pick access to the single market even on a temporary basis without accepting all four freedoms of movement (of goods, services, capital, and people).

Barr increased the chance of a time-limited transition period based around the status quo to 5O percent from 35 percent, and cut the chances of talks collapsing without a deal to 5 percent from 10 percent.

There have been other signs that the mood within government is shifting towards a more relaxed view on free movement. "Maybe it's a circle that can be squared but I'm pretty sure at the moment the government has no clue how".

Meanwhile, businesses have been pushing hard for an agreement which could give them time to get used to the new relationship with the UK's biggest export market.

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

"But not only is it a bit late to be commissioning this study now, we wonder how the Government is going to produce legislation - as it's promised to do next year - ahead of the findings of their study".

Rudd, writing in the Financial Times today, appeared to soften the Government's rhetoric on migration by attempting to allay fears of a "cliff edge" for businesses once Brexit is complete.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said the consultation is "long overdue". "Mainly because Britain has no position on finances, but also because they don't have positions on other issues as well", a second European Union official said.

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