The Independent reports today:
The Government must urgently prepare for a possible surge in immigration ahead of Brexit while allaying fears over British and European citizens being used as “bargaining chips”, a Parliamentary report has warned.
The Home Affairs Committee predicted that expected attempts to limit migration after the UK leaves the European Union could drive a last-minute dash, as the highest ever number of asylum applications remain outstanding and a large quantity of visa cases wait to be processed.
Keith Vaz, who chairs the Committee, said migration was the biggest issue facing the country as uncertainty continues following last month’s EU referendum.
“There is a clear lack of certainty in the government’s approach to the position of EU migrants resident in the UK and British citizens living in the EU,” the Labour MP added.
“Neither should be used as pawns in a complicated chess game which has not even begun.
“We have offered three suggested cut off dates, and unless the government makes a decision, the prospect of a ‘surge’ in immigration will increase.
“Multiple voices and opinions from government ministers causes uncertainty and must stop.”
The report found that the UK’s immigration directorates must be given extra funding and resources to cope with the increased workload.
It concluded that previous attempts to tighten immigration rules have led to a spike in immigration prior to the rules coming into force, adding that much will depend on the outcome of negotiations on free movement and residence rights.
The committee said the outcome of the referendum “has placed EU nationals living in the UK in a potentially very difficult and uncertain position”, adding: “EU citizens living and working in the UK must be told where they stand in relation to the UK leaving the EU and they should not be used as bargaining chips in the negotiations.”