EU Free Movement: Tories Will Open Borders to Croatia in June – Allowing Migrants to Stay Permanently


Theresa May’s government has quietly admitted that it will extend full Free Movement rights to Croatia, the EU’s newest member-state, from June 2018 – and that Croatian migrants who move to Britain between then and the end of the Brexit ‘transition period’ will be able to settle in the country permanently.

“We will today inform the European Commission and the Croatian government of our decision not to extend further the transitional restrictions on Croatian citizens’ access to the UK labour market when they expire on 30 June 2018,” revealed immigration minister Caroline Nokes in a little-reported statement on March 19th.

“It was always the case that these restrictions [on immigration from Croatia] were temporary and it would only be legal to extend them further if there was an economic case that to do otherwise would cause or threaten serious labour market disturbance,” Nokes claimed.

“We have examined the evidence carefully and no such case can be made. The UK labour market is very strong with near record levels of unemployment and employment. There is a low volume of flows from Croatia to the UK, and a low number of resident Croatians in the UK … The cultural/social network ‘pull’ factor is limited, particularly given the much larger Croatian diaspora size in other EU member-states (e.g. Germany),” she suggested.

The minister did not appear to consider that the number of Croatians resident in Britain might be significantly higher were it not for the fact they have not previously enjoyed the right to immigrate in unlimited numbers, effectively unvetted, under the EU’s Free Movement regime.

Similar assurances were offered by EU apologists before the doors were thrown open to Romania and Bulgaria in 2014, with Brexit supporters such as Nigel Farage being rubbished for predicting the mass influx from the two low-wage economies which ultimately came to pass.

Tony Blair’s government, similarly, predicted that opening Britain to Free Movement from Poland and other Central European member-states in 2004 would result in just 13,000 new arrivals — a move which former Home Secretay Jack Straw admitted was a “spectacular mistake” after more than a million arrived.

With respect to Croatian migrants’ status after Brexit, Nokes confirmed that they “will be able to seek and obtain employment in the UK on the same basis as currently enjoyed by all other EU citizens”, and that the government “will not discriminate between nationals of the EU member-states in our implementation of the Citizens’ Rights deal”.

This means that “Croatian citizens will be able to apply for settled status on the same terms as all other EU citizens” — leading to fears there could be a sudden surge between June and the end of 2020, as migrants seek to take advantage of what is essentially a time-limited offer to settle in Britain without having to satisfy any preconditions.

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