Brexit to end EU freedom of movement 'by definition'


British Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said that people's freedom of movement between the U.K. and the rest of Europe will come to a definite end with Brexit.

People's freedom of movement between the U.K. and the rest of Europe will come to a definite end with Brexit, a senior British government figure said on Thursday.

Immigration minister Brandon Lewis said planned survey would look into the benefits of migration from the EU. However, he also underlined that the government would pursue its intention of reducing net migration to tens of thousands per year.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Lewis said: "Free movement of labor ends when we leave the European Union in the spring of 2019.

"I'll be very clear about that."

"Obviously, there's a period of negotiation we're going through with the European Union at the moment.

"But we're very clear that free movement ends. It's part of the four key principles of the European Union. When we leave, it therefore -- by definition -- ends," Lewis said.

His remarks seems to run counter to previous reports the U.K. would have a transition period of between 2-4 years before ending freedom of movement -- a key right enjoyed by millions of EU citizens.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Wednesday a report to look into the benefits and costs of EU migration and freedom of movement had been commissioned and was due in September 2018, only six months before the U.K.'s expected departure from the bloc.

Lewis did not reveal any government plans to manage post-Brexit migration but said London would publish a white paper on the issue later this year.

Immigration was one of the key issues during the Brexit referendum campaign. Leave supporters targeted the high numbers of yearly net migration into the U.K.

The U.K. is expected to leave the EU in 2019 after completing exit negotiations which commenced in June.

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