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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, responds to the final report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on European Economic Area (EEA) migration.

Bright Blue welcomes the comprehensive overview of the impact of EEA migration and some strong policy suggestions, but generally believes it was a missed opportunity to propose reforms that are necessary to build a more effective, popular and contributory-based immigration system.

Director of Bright Blue, Ryan Shorthouse, said:

“The Migration Advisory Committee has provided evidence that cuts through the exaggerations of both sides of a very divisive debate, showing that immigration generally has no or very modest positive economic and social impacts.

The Migration Advisory Committee has offered some strong suggestions for reforming our immigration system: abolishing the cap on Tier 2 (General) visas and extending the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, as Bright Blue has been campaigning for.

But this report was a missed opportunity to propose significant reforms to our post-Brexit immigration system to ensure it is more effective, popular and contributory-based.”

Bright Blue has made several policy recommendations, both in its submission to the Migration Advisory Committee but also in its report A manifesto for immigration, including:

  • Extend the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, naming it the ‘Citizens of the world’ visa programme.
  • Abolish the net migration target and replace it with targets for different categories of migrants. These targets should not just be about gross numbers (excluding students and refugees), but also the effectiveness of the visa process.
  • If the Government does not meet the targets it has set on immigration, it should automatically commit to extra funding through the Controlling Migration Fund so local areas have additional resources to cope.
  • All new immigrants – excluding refugees and students – should pay a new class of National Insurance Contributions when working for the first two years of their arrival. This revenue should be paid directly into the Controlling Migration Fund.