A leading Tory Brexiteer has admitted the UK needs more workers from the EU to ease labor shortages and tackle inflation.
Former Environment Secretary George Eustis Rishi asked Sunak to negotiate bilateral agreements with European countries that offer youth work visas.
He hit out at the Prime Minister over labor shortages and the resulting inflation, not because of Brexit but because of the “failure of our immigration policy from Brexit”.
And Mr. Eustis challenged Mr. Sunak on what he called the “flaws” of the current “skills-based immigration system,” saying the policy did not match the needs of the economy.
While not calling for a return to freedom of movement between the UK and the EU, Mr Estes urged Mr Sunac to “renew the post-Brexit friendship with our European neighbours”.
The former minister’s comments are seen as an admission of failure of the government’s post-Brexit immigration policy. There is growing uncertainty among Conservative MPs over the failure of Brexit and senior Tory Tobias Ellwood has called for Britain to join the single market.
Mr Eustick said. The Observer.When there is no shortage in those fields, we allow people with skills like lawyers, bankruptcy practitioners, museum officers, disc jockeys.
But we don’t allow people to come here to work in sectors like the food industry, even though there is a huge labor shortage in these sectors, which is causing inflation.
“So that’s the biggest problem. My proposal is to start bilateral negotiations with EU member states, starting with countries like Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states, and eventually to the whole of the EU to establish a mutual youth mobility visa scheme.
The deals will allow EU nationals under the age of 35 to live and work in the UK for two years, while British nationals will be allowed to do the same in EU member states with which deals have been made, he said.
His intervention comes just days after a group of right-wing MPs launched the so-called New Conservatives, the latest sign of a split within the Conservative Party over immigration.
The group called on Mr Sunak to take action on foreign social care workers and foreign students to bring net migration down from 606,000 to 226,000 before the next election.
The New Conservatives have been slapped with No10 and branded “populist and isolationist” by Tory MPs.
Mr Eustis also attacked Theresa May’s post-Brexit immigration policy, calling it a “residual interpretation of what Brexit was”.
“This idea of no temporary visa programs did not come from the Vote Leave campaign,” he said.
Mr Eustis added: “Brexit was not about him. What people wanted was controlled immigration, not to pull out the bridge and let no one in.
Industries including hospitality, retail, construction and transport have been hit by the loss of EU workers after Brexit.
The British Retail Association has blamed Brexit for “exacerbating labor shortages” facing the sector.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We have successful youth mobility programs with 10 countries, including Australia and New Zealand, and we are open to agreeing with our international partners, including EU member states.”
“We will work closely with the Immigration Advisory Committee to ensure that our points-based system delivers for the UK and the economy, including by reviewing the shortage of jobs that reflect the current labor market.”