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Future migration to the UK should be linked to employment after Brexit says First Minister

The Welsh Government has launched its latest Brexit paper, which proposes a “fair approach” to future migration to the UK.

The paper, launched today says that linking migration to the UK more closely to employment, would both enable the UK to convince EU negotiators to agree to continued full and unfettered access to the Single Market after Brexit.

It would also ensure that Welsh employers would continue to access the skills they need.

This approach would allow Wales and the UK to continue to benefit from inward migration while addressing concerns that featured prominently in the debate leading up to the Brexit referendum last June.

Welsh Government would also press for a specific quota of EU migrants into Wales the paper says.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

It is essential that, post-Brexit, the system for migration between the EU and UK is one which is right for Wales, and for all parts of the UK.

Our top priority is assuring our future economic prosperity through full and unfettered access to the Single Market.

Our proposals provide a realistic basis for the UK’s negotiations with the EU, in contrast with what has been seen as “magical thinking” from the UK government.

We recognise many people have concerns about the extent and speed of migration and we want to see more control over this.

That is why we are proposing a fair system which would ensure future migration to the UK is linked to employment, with those wishing to come to the UK required to have a job, or the ability to find one quickly.

The paper sets out the need for “vigorous enforcement” of legislation to address peoples’ concerns over the potential for the exploitation of migrant workers to undermine wages and working conditions for all workers.

Finance and Local Government Secretary, Mark Drakeford, said:

Our proposal, which links migration to work and tackles the ongoing exploitation of workers, is one which we believe would command wide support from people across Wales and the whole UK, and would provide a credible basis for the negotiations with the EU.

While the Welsh Government is not responsible for immigration policy, this is a sensible and well-evidenced contribution to this important policy area and I strongly urge the UK government to give careful consideration to our proposals.