British home secretary floats prospect of work permits for EU citizens
Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30
Irish people looking to work in the UK could face the prospect of having to secure work permits once the country leaves the European Union.
British Home secretary Amber Rudd said yesterday that she was looking at a permits system to control migration from the EU into the UK, a proposition which she said "certainly has value".
Whether such a system, if it comes into force, would also apply to Irish workers remains to be seen, and will form part of the complex and lengthy negotiations undertaken once the UK triggers Article 50.
Brexit secretary David Davis has underlined the need to "take control" of Britain's borders and to control immigration, but he has also said that both the UK and Ireland want to keep an open border in respect of Northern Ireland.
Ms Rudd told the BBC that her department was examining immigration control systems, but that no decisions had yet been made. "I think work permits certainly has value, but we're not ruling anything out at the moment," Ms Rudd said. "What we're going to look at is how we can get the best for the economy, driving the numbers down but protecting the people who really add value to the economy."
British Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected a "points-based" system to screen immigrants, setting up a potential conflict with Brexit campaigners in her government who promised to bring in Australian-style controls over EU migrants.
Ms Rudd backed Ms May's stance on that yesterday.
When asked if Irish workers might face the need to get work permits post Brexit, a spokeswoman for the UK Home Office told the Irish Independent she could not add anything further ahead of the negotiations.