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UK in a Changing Europe publishes wide-ranging review of the politics of UK’s post-Brexit immigration landscape


Academic think tank analyses policy, politics and public opinion of migration since the last general election

Date of Publication:

A very interesting wide-ranging, evidence-based new report released last week by UK in a Changing Europe (an academic think tank hosted by King's College London) considers the politics of migration to the UK following Brexit.

Report coverThe 94-page report can be downloaded here.

UK in a Changing Europe says the report provides a comprehensive overview of the changes in policy, outcomes and public opinion that have reshaped the immigration landscape since the last general election in 2019.

In three separate sections, the report reviews the post-Brexit migration system for work and study, the UK's humanitarian migration policy, and public opinion on the UK's migration system and the results it delivers.

As the report notes, Brexit led to the most significant set of changes to the legal framework for immigration to the UK since the early 1970s. Since 2021 and the opening up of the economy after Covid, a liberalisation of the immigration system has resulted in historically very high levels of migration, overwhelmingly from outside the EU.

On public opinion, UK in a Changing Europe says the public now look back on the past two decades of EU migration as beneficial and have more positive views of immigration, though the spike in immigration in the last few years has partly, if not fully, reversed this shift. Immigration is now moving up the political agenda again after a long post-Brexit decline.

The fourth section of the report has a series of short contributions from various authors examining the policy options for the next government on different aspects of migration. Among the contributing authors are Madeleine Sumption of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford and Colin Yeo of Garden Court Chambers and Free Movement.

UK in a Changing Europe notes in the report: "Brexit did indeed enable the UK government to 'take back control' of immigration policy. The current migration debate reflects the choices policymakers have made, balancing opportunities and challenges, and the effects – both anticipated and not – of those choices. This report aims to provide a clear and evidence-based account of these, and how they have been received by the public. We hope this will help to inform both voters and policymakers as they consider the choices to come, in the general election and after."