EU Referendum

Reality Check: Who sets the UK's immigration policy?

John Caudwell saying: The immigration policy is set by the Europeans and not by the British

Phones4U founder John Caudwell said on Radio 4's Today Programme: "The immigration policy is set by the Europeans and not by the British."

He also said: "We have no control over the issuance of European passports in other countries."

Is he right? People who are nationals of European Union member states have the right to work or live across the EU. That's not something from which the UK can opt out while it remains in the EU.

Immediate family members of EU citizens who come from outside the EU are also entitled to visit or reside in the UK.

The UK can choose, on a case-by-case basis, whether to participate in EU-wide rules on immigration, visa and asylum policies.

For example, the UK has an opt-out on the EU refugee emergency relocation scheme, which redistributes asylum seekers who have arrived in Greece and Italy.

Those EU rules are made by the European Council and the European Parliament, of which the UK is an active member.

The UK also has control over its policy on all other immigration from outside the EU. There is a points-based system for most migrants coming from countries outside the EU.

Member states retain sovereignty over national citizenship, so Mr Caudwell is right that the UK has no control over who, for example, France issues a passport to. UK border officials would then have to have a good reason to refuse entry to that passport-holder.

Reality Check verdict: He's overstating his case - it's true that Britain has to let EU citizens come to the UK, and that's part of the terms of membership of the EU. But Britain has control over most immigration from outside the EU, and a say in the policies the EU develops.

UPDATE: This article was modified on 9 June 2016 for clarity and to include the rights of non-EU family members of EU citizens.


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