Is free movement of workers a pre-requisite for EU free trade?
In last week’s poll, Engineer readers backed retaining the ability to trade tariff-free with the EU single market as the most important thing to be preserved when the UK leaves the EU. But it is becoming clear that for the remaining EU states, this is dependent on the right of citizens of EU member states to live and work in the UK. With immigration seeming to be an important factor in many of the votes to leave the EU, we’d like to explore our readers’ thoughts on the issue.
Engineering companies often employ staff from overseas to fill skills gaps where UK engineers with the right set of skills can’t be found, and as we reported last week, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, among other industry bodies, wants to continue to do this. Moreover, European students and researchers often want to work and study at UK institutions, in part on courses and projects that receive EU funding. Is tariff-free trade so important that completely free movement must be maintained? Should the UK accept some trade barriers and tariffs and barriers to put some limits on numbers coming into the country (albeit often in non-STEM or manufacturing positions?) If we do this, should we institute an Australian-based points system for European immigrants, as advocated by some of the Leave campaigners, so that companies can at least fill their skilled vacancies? Or should we turn our backs on the skilled engineers of Europe, and instead recruit from the Commonwealth states?
Please use this page to tell us your thoughts on this subject and the options we have given; keeping your comments brief and to the point. Abusive comments will be deleted immediately and we will prioritise comment that keep discussion flowing over those which merely re-state a single point of view. Comments are particularly useful if you pick the ‘none of the above’ option. We will show the results of this poll on 12 July.
Please click the link below to vote in the poll and comment.