EU citizens should be given ‘unrestricted access’ to UK jobs after Brexit, the Bar Council says

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By Katie King on

Bar chiefs urge negotiators to protect the free movement of people

Bar Council big wigs have recommended that EU citizens be given “unrestricted access to UK jobs” post-Brexit.

Though seemingly admitting immigration was one of the key factors driving the Leave campaign’s win (the issue was “of particular salience” in the referendum debate), the professional association says EU citizens should still be able to enter the United Kingdom without a visa and seek work without restriction.

The Bar Council — which represents barristers across England and Wales — describes its recommendation as an “intermediate position”, which is less restrictive than a “work permit/prior authorisation system”, but more restriction than “the current system of free movement.”

While the report, ‘The Brexit Papers’, does not go into depth about what this system will look like, it does say “consideration” should be given to a number of factors including “the ability to seek work without restriction”, “free movement for the self-employed” and “free movement for students and the self-sufficient.”

Details are thin on the ground, but it seems the Bar Council is happy to conclude that the free movement of labour is a good thing. Though anti-EU battle cries often cite European migration as a source of UK job displacement and high unemployment, the Bar Council’s report says:

Academic studies demonstrate that EU migration and the taxation of EU citizens in work leads to a net fiscal gain and provides the resources from which the government may fund any extra provision for housing, education, and healthcare.

In what the Bar Council describes as its “comprehensive and easy-to-read legal guide on Brexit” (we think it looks like it’s been made on Paint), it shares its fear the government will “impair” what works well at present, and will end up “imposing a sub-optimal system that ill-fits the society it seeks to serve.” Stark words given that Prime Minister Theresa May is supposedly poised to trigger Article 50 in the coming days.

You can read the full Bar Council report here:

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