The recent guesstimate is that net immigration was 300,000/year.
Just over half of that was from outside the EU. So that 150,000 is the result of efforts aimed at controlling the number. Presumably it will continue at that rate whether we are in or out of the EU.
The other 150,000 is from free movement within the EU. If we are in the EU, free movement is a basic requirement – and it works the other way, for us to work in other member countries.
If we are out of the EU then we would probably not want zero net immigration and we would want to negotiate trade agreements with the EU.
Some people say that the UK is such a large market for EU countries that they would waive their fundamental requirement for free movement. Others point to Norway and Switzerland, outside the EU, who have had to accept free movement for a trading agreement. If we were required to allow free movement to get a trading agreement, would we say ‘no’?
Either we get no control of EU net migration, or we face economic penalties – perhaps severe. And we still have 150,000 from outside the EU.
Getting out of the EU and its imperfections, just to reduce net immigration, is not a sensible thing to do.
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