Close Video

Work permits at heart of UK’s Brexit immigration control plan

17 January 2017

May prepares EU migration curbs, at the expense of single market membership

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our T&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Ministers are drawing up plans for a two-tier system of UK border controls for EU citizens as Theresa May prepares to tighten migration rules at the expense of single market membership.

Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news.

Select topic Enter email addressInvalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. Senior government officials expect the prime minister to decide on a system based on work permits and new automated security checks — similar to the US visa-waiver programme — for EU citizens travelling to Britain.

The cabinet is divided on how to regulate the flow of EU workers into Britain. Former Remain supporters advocate a “free movement minus” regime that would consist of a cap on migrant numbers and an “emergency brake”.

Pro-Brexit politicians want an end to free movement and the introduction of a work permit system, with the government having the power to decide how many EU citizens would be allowed into Britain each year to take up a job offer. They also want restrictions on welfare payments.

Crucially, Amber Rudd, home secretary and a former Remain supporter, is thought to back the work permit plan while Mrs May’s allies say she is also minded to endorse the idea.


Back to news