Amber Rudd is understood to believe the immigration regime is essential to ensure businesses have continuity and there are no labour shortages
EU migrants would be able to come to Britain after Brexit as long as they have a job under Home Office plans.
The new regime is being pushed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who wants to keep migration rules as simple as possible after the UK leaves the EU.
It could result in European nationals facing removal if they cannot find work – but her proposals would mean no overall cap on the numbers arriving.
Miss Rudd wants to permit any EU national who can find a job the right to live and work in Britain.
She also wants very tight restrictions on criminals from the continent entering the UK. The proposals – which are still being drawn up – are likely to be contained in an immigration white paper to be published within weeks.
It will propose a series of options for managing Britain’s immigration system after we leave the EU and free movement comes to an end.
The final plans will not be activated until after a deal is agreed with the EU. Some Cabinet ministers argue that a less-strict immigration regime for EU nationals will mean Britain secures a better trade deal.
Miss Rudd is understood to believe the regime is essential to ensure businesses have continuity and there are no labour shortages.
But it could raise concerns about whether migrant numbers will fall sufficiently to hit the Government’s target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands.
The measures would also disappoint campaigners who want to see sharp falls in the number of low-skilled EU migrants. And the idea is a far cry from Government immigration plans leaked earlier this year.
Drawn up by civil servants, that blueprint suggested slashing the number of low-skilled workers.
The paper also hinted at a ‘direct numerical cap’ on numbers in the long term, and limits on the amount of time workers could stay depending on their skill levels.
It said British workers would be given preference and firms would have to pass a rigorous ‘economic needs test’ before recruiting low-skilled EU nationals.
Miss Rudd believes any proposals involving work permits or visa numbers are too complex. The plans are yet to go before Cabinet or be approved by No 10.
Ministers have already signalled that free movement will continue in all but name for around two years after we leave during a so-called ‘transition’ period (stock photo)
The Home Secretary has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to examine the evidence for what Britain’s ‘social and economic needs’ for migration are.
Her proposals would allow EU nationals with jobs to be able to come freely, but put restrictions on unemployed migrants.
The most recent figures show that 6.7 per cent of EU-born workers in the UK are unemployed.
Ministers have already signalled that free movement will continue in all but name for around two years after we leave during a so-called ‘transition’ period.
During that period EU migrants will have to register with the Home Office.
Afterwards, EU nationals are likely to have a presumed right to enter the country – unless they are convicted criminals – for a period of months.
That will allow free flows of tourists and business leaders on short-term trips.
In theory, EU nationals wanting to work in the UK would not need to find a job beforehand, and could enter the country to look for work. They would only be forced to leave if they could not find work or subsequently lost their job.
Net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving –