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UK should adopt Canada-style immigration policy to soothe Brexit negotiations; lawmakers

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images | Getty Images News

Britain ought to introduce a regional immigration system akin to Canada's visa policy to aid Brexit negotiations, according to a panel of U.K. based lawmakers.



Should the U.K. heed the advice, central government would be required to devolve immigration powers to local administrations. This would enable regional authorities to set quotas based on the "economic and cultural needs" of each area, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) said in a report published on Thursday.

In Canada, all 10 provincial governments are able to set region-specific quotas for immigrants. The policy requires immigrants to live in an area of the country which has approved their visa until they become eligible to seek Canadian citizenship.

"It's clear that immigration has impacted on different communities in different ways and the pace of change has alarmed many," Chuka Umunna, U.K. Labour party MP and chair of the APPG said in a statement.

"We now need a meaningful integration programme which works for all parts of the UK and an immigration policy which allows all to celebrate and look beyond our differences - a middle way between the laissez-faire multiculturalism favored by successive British governments and the assimilationist politics of the French Burkini ban," he added.

Immigration concerns

The APPG also proposed compulsory English lessons for immigrants when they arrive in the U.K. as well as the immediate introduction of an Integration Impact Fund for councils to have at their disposal.

Immigration concerns proved to be of critical importance to the U.K. in the run up to the country's referendum over European Union (EU) membership. Ultimately, the U.K. voted to leave the EU in June last year and Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to begin formal Brexit negotiations by the end of March.

The U.K. government appointed Sir Tim Barrow as Britain's new ambassador to the EU on Thursday after his predecessor suddenly quit a couple of days earlier. Sir Ivan Rogers had tendered his resignation just two months before Article 50 was due to be triggered.