FREEDOM of movement for EU citizens wanting to travel to and from the UK will end on day one of a no-deal Brexit, it was reported last night.
Plans drawn up by new Home Secretary Priti Patel will see border restrictions imposed immediately on October 31, it’s claimed.
Home Office officials have been dispatched to Singapore to try to copy its system for managing incoming arrivals – with the hope being it be be quickly implemented in the UK, The Independent reported.
But critics say it could cause chaos – with settled EU nationals trapped in a legal limbo as there is no replacement system ready to take over.
The Liberal Democrats described the move to accelerate scrapping free movement as “brutal” – and warned it could not happen without MPs’ approval.
Such a swift approach at ending free movement would be a clear departure from that taken by former Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The now-Chancellor said previously that ending free movement immediately in the event of a no-deal would not be “practical” for employers and others.
He said last autumn: “There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period.”
But a senior Home Office source told The Independent that Ms Patel wants free movement “to end on 31 October”.
They added: “Priti wants to toughen the Home Office’s stance.
“She thinks Saj [Mr Javid] did a great job but, with a new Prime Minister and new priorities, changes needed to be made.
“For a start that means properly preparing for no-deal – it’s clear those in the centre had no intention of preparing for no-deal.”
‘TAKE BACK CONTROL’
No 10 declined to comment last night – but it is believed to have been endorsed by Downing Street and and Boris Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary has been clear in her intention to take back control of our borders and end free movement after 31 October.
“Ending free movement means we are no longer required to give unlimited and uncontrolled access to those from EU countries when they are coming here seeking to work.”
Nicolas Hatton, head of the3million group of EU citizens living in the UK, warned: “There are no systems in place and nothing is ready.
“This is a political gesture, but it will have a real impact on people’s lives. This will open the door to discrimination.
“How will they distinguish between the ‘legacy people’, those already here, and those who will arrive afterwards?”
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