This report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) identifies and explores the six main options on free movement that the UK government could pursue, and trades each option off against factors such as public opinion and financial repercussions.

Following the referendum result last June, IPPR produced this paper to analyse the different options Government could explore with regards to EU migration post-Brexit.

As the Government looks set to withdraw the UK from the free movement agreement with the EU, decisions must be made in relation to new migration rules for EU nationals. This exploration of potential new agreements ranges from the maintenance of free movement, to comprehensive restrictions for EU migrants.


  • Keeping a free movement agreement would severely undermine the result of last year’s referendum.
  • The negative aspects of only allowing EU migration if individuals have accepted a UK-based job offer largely outweigh the benefits.
  • A ‘free movement with emergency brake’ approach could allow for an easier interstitial period immediately after the UK leaves the EU.
  • Partial restrictions on EU migration could allow for free movement in some employment sectors while restricting the numbers in others.
  • A comprehensive restriction of EU migrants would most likely have a large detrimental effect on the UK economy.
  • Visa restrictions on EU migration could exist in the same way as regulations that apply to non-EU migrants.

To read more publications from IPPR, visit their website.