The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has been warned by Brussels that the UK’s own nationals will suffer if it introduces a post-Brexit immigration system that discriminates between European citizens according to their skills.
The policy is likely to be unveiled at the Conservative party conference, which begins on Sunday.
Yes we must take back control, not from Brussels – from Whitehall
Following a meeting this week with the prime minister and Javid in Whitehall, Guy Verhofstadt, who represents the European parliament in the Brexit negotiations, has – in a letter obtained by the Guardian – given warning of a tit-for-tat response.
Verhofstadt, a former prime minister of Belgium, tells Javid that any discrimination among EU nationals on the basis of nationality or employment “would apply reciprocally to UK citizens moving to the EU 26”. By EU 26 he means all the the member states excluding Ireland, which is in a common travel area with the UK. The conclusion is understood to be supported by EU officials and diplomats representing the member states.