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The UK: A Hung Parliament and What This Might Mean for Immigration

The UK General Election has ended with a hung Parliament, meaning no party has won enough seats for an absolute Parliamentary majority. Instead, Conservative Party leader Theresa May will form a government with support from the Democratic Unionist party. What does this mean for immigration? 

Theresa May has met with The Queen to request consent to form a Government with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland and the fifth largest political party in the House of Commons.

It is understood that Theresa May decided to strike a 'confidence-and-supply' deal with the DUP. This means the DUP would support the government on financial matters like the Budget, and in confidence votes which would otherwise bring the government down. The DUP wouldn't get ministerial jobs, but would expect concessions on chosen policies.

Under this arrangement it is likely that the net migration target will be maintained. We can also assume that UK immigration will become more expensive for overseas skilled workers. It seems unlikely that the DUP would place either point at the centre of negotiations at this stage.

We can be quite sure that, whatever the outcome, Free Movement in its current form will end after Brexit.

It seems unlikely that the Labour Party will get the chance to form a minority Government through alliance with the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Liberal Democrats and others. If it were to happen the net migration target would probably be dropped. Labour placed their emphasis on a fair and reasonable management of migration. The SNP want an immigration system just for Scotland. The Liberal Democrats want to continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of our economy. Under this Government, we would most likely see a softer Brexit.

Last week we published our Fragomen Manifesto Compendium. It is a great resource if you want to know what the parties have said about immigration. The compendium lists the parties that most often appear in TV election debates. Not a lot has been said about DUP interests, but given its likely rise as newly bestowed kingmakers, here is a summary on what the DUP has to say on immigration.

A lot will change over the course of today and the weekend. As ever we will make sure you receive updates on any changes that will impact on migration.