LONDON, July 27 ( Xinhua) -- The free movement of people between European member states and Britain will end in March 2019, British government ministers said Thursday.
It was the clearest indication so far from Westminster about what will happen when Britain leaves the EU.
Home Office minister Brandon Lewis said the government will outline details of how it would manage immigration after Brexit in a white paper later this year. Proposals would then be included in a parliamentary immigration bill in 2018.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd, however, issued in a media interview, an assurance to businesses who employ foreign workers that there will not be a cliff edge.
Rudd said during a visit to South Ayrshire in Scotland that an immigration implementation phase would involve new EU workers registering their details when they come to Britain.
From then EU workers moving to Britain will have to register, at least until a permanent post-Brexit immigration policy is introduced.
"We will ensure we continue to attract those who benefit us economically, socially and culturally. But, at the same time, our new immigration system will give us control of the volume of people coming here," said Rudd.
The governing Conservative Party, led by prime minister Theresa May, has pledged to reduce net immigration to "tens of thousands" compared to the several hundred thousand a year currently entering Britain.
Britain's Home Office has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to 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.
The committee is expected to report back by September 2018.