There will be no sudden fall in immigration after Brexit, the Home Secretary has said.
Amber Rudd has suggested that the Government was ‘against cliff edges’ as she said businesses will be consulted on immigration.
The victory for Leave in the Brexit referendum has been seen by many as a response to immigration fears.
The new immigration system would be put to businesses in summer, she claimed.
It comes as a paper suggested that the independent Migration Advisory Committee would be in control of how many visas were given out.
Under the proposals, new arrivals could be given five-year working visas if they have a job but be banned from claiming any benefits during that time, according to the Sunday Times.
Rudd confirmed that ministers are considering plans to limit benefits for new immigrants but insisted it was one of a range of options and that no decisions have been made.
It follows Brexit Secretary David Davis’s suggestion that immigration would not fall immediately because of skills shortages.
He said it would take ‘years and years’ to fill jobs in some sectors which rely heavily on migrants, and so the door would not ‘suddenly shut’ after Brexit.
Asked about his comments, Rudd told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: ‘We’re against cliff edges, so as part of the consultation that we will be bringing out in the summer we will be asking them (firms) the best way to deliver that.’
Earlier this week, government sources insisted Davis had not spoken out of turn when he used a visit to Estonia to say: ‘In the hospitality sector, hotels and restaurants, in the social care sector, working in agriculture, it will take time – it will be years and years before we get British citizens to do those jobs.
‘Don’t expect just because we’re changing who makes the decision on the policy, the door will suddenly shut: it won’t.’
Sources said this would be in line with expected transitional arrangements after withdrawal.
But Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin appeared to try to downplay Davis’s suggestion, saying his comments were taken out of context.
Sir Patrick told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We have the figures towards the end of last week which have shown a reduction as far as net immigration to the country as far as the previous figures were concerned, so I think we need to see how that was done.
‘And not take one small part of an interview completely out of context, because David is very committed to the Prime Minister’s agenda, and that is actually ensuring that we hit control over our own borders, which was one of the biggest issues in the referendum.’