Brexit and Human Rights No.4: Variations on Free Movement Briefing

Brexit and Human Rights Briefing No.4: Variations on Free Movement Briefing

It is becoming increasingly clear that, under the present government, free movement in its current form will end after Britain leaves the European Union.1 Theresa May outlined the government’s stance in her Lancaster House Speech last year:

“the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.”

Yet amid the many suggested alternatives to free movement, there have been numerous proposals that offer variations on the existing system. These include free movement with a job offer, free movement with an emergency break, and free movement limited by regional or sectoral quotas.

This briefing does not seek to advocate for any of these alternatives, but instead attempts to provide an objective human rights analysis of each proposal. The final section of this briefing considers the recurring human rights risks posed by these three alternatives to free movement, and makes some recommendations for Labour’s priorities for a humane, progressive post-Brexit immigration system.