Immigration minister tells BBC free movement will end in March 2019

Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis has told BBC's Radio 4 that a new immigration system will be in place by March 2019 - the date when the free movement of people between the EU and UK will end.

The news follows an announcement that the government has commissioned a "detailed assessment" of the costs and benefits of EU migrants to be completed in September 2018 - a development that critics said had come a year too late.

The CBI said businesses "urgently" needed to know what EU migration would look like, both in any "transitional" period after March 2019 and beyond.

An immigration bill, which will reveal the government's chosen method, was included in last month's Queen's Speech.

The minister told the BBC that details of how the government plans to manage migration after Brexit would be revealed in a white paper later this year, and that the immigration bill would go through Parliament in 2018.

The migration committee will study the "economic and social costs and benefits of EU migration to the UK economy", its impact on competitiveness, and whether there would be benefits to focusing migration on high-skilled jobs.


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