Trade, Development, and Immigration

Some aspects of freedom of movement are worth saving

Kristian Niemietz writes for Brexit Central

Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs has written for Brexit Central following the publication of his recent report on immigration policy.

As I show in my new IEA paper Immigration: Picking the low-hanging fruits, some aspects of free movement are popular. They can be saved – and they are worth saving.

For a start, there are a number of surveys which ask people which countries they would accept more (or at least the current numbers of) immigrants from, and from which countries they would rather have fewer immigrants. For European countries, those surveys show a huge East-West gap. Very few people want to make it harder for Western Europeans to come here. But there is overwhelming support for reducing immigration from the poorest Eastern European countries (e.g. Romania), with the more prosperous Eastern European countries (e.g. Poland) falling somewhere in between.

Before the EU’s enlargement in 2004 and 2007, free movement was never controversial in Britain. So why not go back to the pre-2004 status quo ante, and keep FoM for citizens of the old member states (the EU-14) and the EFTA countries?

Read the full article here.