By Alan Travis
The Guardian | 11 January 2017
Downing Street has moved to distance itself from a proposal by the immigration minister for a £1,000-a-year levy on every EU skilled worker recruited by British employers after Brexit.
Robert Goodwill told peers that the “immigration skills levy” could be introduced for EU migrants and would “be helpful to British workers who feel they are overlooked” in favour of migrants.
But the suggestion provoked an immediate business backlash which led Downing Street to try to play down the proposal. The prime minister’s spokesman said it was not on the government’s agenda and suggested Goodwill’s remarks had been “misinterpreted” and he had simply highlighted the skills levy for non-EU migrants coming into force in April.
A Home Office spokeswoman said after Goodwill had given evidence: “As the minister said, there are a whole range of options we could consider to control immigration once we leave the EU. The people of this country spoke very clearly in the referendum and we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again.”