Unlocking the EU free movement debate
This briefing sets out five areas where freedom of movement can be reformed as part of the UK’s renegotiated relationship with the EU. Our proposals are credible, fair, and responsive to public concerns about free movement and EU migration.
Our reforms include:
Public services: We propose creating a new EU fund that local authorities and services can apply to in order to alleviate pressures on schools, hospitals and housing due to migration.
Crime and security: We propose changing EU law to allow greater scope for member states to expel EU migrants who pose a threat to public security. In particular, we propose removing the provision stating that EU citizens who are permanent residents cannot be expelled unless on ‘serious grounds of public policy or security’.
Undercutting and exploitation: We propose that EU member states improve cooperation in order to tackle cross-border exploitation of free movement by unscrupulous employers.
Integration: We propose changing EU law to allow the UK to require EU migrants to have an English language qualification and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ citizenship test in order to get permanent residence.
Welfare: As IPPR has argued previously, the government should focus its efforts on changing the benefits rules on unemployed rather than in-work EU migrants. EU rules should be changed to place additional restrictions on UK benefits for unemployed EU migrants until they have worked in the UK for three years.