Britain faces an influx of 500,000 East European ¬migrants because of Brexit. They are predicted to rush into the UK over the next two years before our borders are closed.
The stark warning comes from ¬former Immigration minister Phil Woolas, who served under Gordon Brown’s ¬premiership.
Mr Woolas, 56, says: “Every time the UK Government announces a cap on immigration, thousands rush in before the deadline.
“Would-be immigrants see that the door is about to slam. So they bring forward their plans and a last-minute rush heads for the UK. In the Home Office, they call it the fire sale.”
Mr Woolas, former Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, added: “I faced the same problem in 2008 when the last Labour government wanted to strengthen the points-based system – yes, we’ve had such a law since then. The Brexiteers didn’t invent it.
“I announced in Parliament that the numbers of non-EU unskilled workers would be restricted.
“What happened was that more unskilled workers ¬applied for visas than we’d ever known. The same will happen now.”
Negotiations with the EU about Brexit are scheduled to go on for two years, although it could take longer.
And until the process is finished, EU citizens will still enjoy unlimited free access to the UK.
After the referendum result was announced on Friday, there was a 100 per cent surge in Google searches for Irish passports, mostly from people in Northern Ireland .
Irish passport holders will be able to work anywhere in the EU after Brexit because the Republic is still an EU member.
Net migration to the UK – the number of ¬people who came here after subtracting the number who left – rose to 333,000 last year. That was the second highest ¬figure on record. And 184,000 came from the EU.
Brexit leader Boris Johnson said during the ¬campaign the only way to bring the numbers down is to leave the EU.
But astonishingly, a leading Tory Leave campaigner has claimed that free immigration from the EU into the UK could continue.
Daniel Hannan, a Member of the European Parliament, told BBC’s Newsnight: “Frankly, if people watching think that they have voted and there is now going to be zero ¬immigration from the EU, they are going to be disappointed.”
Mr Hannan, 44, said the UK would have to ¬accept the free movement of people to ¬remain in the European common market.
The Conservative MEP defended the campaign to leave the EU, which focused heavily on migration issues. He said Leave had been honest about the implications for immigration from the start.
He said that it was up to future ¬governments to decide if immigration should be limited.
Meanwhile, Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart urged the French government to immediately begin renegotiations which could see the ‘Jungle’ refugee camps move to England.
Currently, British border police and officials to operate in the French port.
But it is feared that if the border is moved, the camps – which house ¬hundreds of migrants waiting to be processed by authorities – could start appearing in England.
In another startling development, South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom emerged as one of the ¬favourites to become the next Prime Minister.
Her level-headed performances during TV debates have led to a groundswell of support from Tory backbenchers who are not keen on Johnson.
Mr Johnson, 52, is clear favourite after the resignation of David Cameron on Friday.
But one backbencher told the Sunday People: “There is a feeling that although Boris had a good campaign and is ¬favourite he is not yet ready. It’s a long way from a done deal.
“And however popular Boris is out in the country there’s not as much support as you would think for him in here.”
Home Secretary Theresa May, 59, is another name in the frame.
But it is Mrs Leadsom, 53, who is developing the momentum needed to mount a successful challenge.
One source close to her said: “She has had a really good campaign and that’s something that’s been ¬acknowledged across both sides of the party.
“There is a lot of work to do ¬healing the wounds that have opened up. Andrea would be an ideal unity candidate.
“She might have been pro- Brexit but she did it in such a way that she didn’t make many enemies at all.”
Odds with online bookie Betfair tonight were: Boris Johnson – 4/5, Theresa May – 5/2, Andrea Leadsom – 6/1, Michael Gove – 9/1.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants could apply for full British citizenship following Brexit.
Foreigners who have lived in the UK for five years are entitled to ask for permanent residence.
Alexandra Jachymek, 26, who is originally from Lublin in Poland but now lives in Birmingham, where she works in a coffee shop, said: “I am completely surprised.
“Everyone thought Britain would stay. I may try and apply for residency.”
Alexandra’s boyfriend Erhan Hasanov, 30, a Bulgarian who has lived in Birmingham for five years where he works as a waiter, said: “It will definitely become harder for us. People who haven’t been there very long will have to get visas.
“It’s a shame Britain has voted to leave and I think you will regret it. At the end of the day, we can leave and either go home or to another EU country. British people are now stuck.”
‘It happened before and will happen again’ says Phil Woolas
Around half a million extra East Europeans looking for work in Britain will arrive on our shores in the next two years before we Brexit .
Those who wanted to halt immigration will, perversely, cause the opposite effect.
In my experience, every time the UK Government announces a cap on immigration, thousands rush in before the deadline.
In the Home Office, they call it “the fire sale”.
It’s a simple idea but a very real consequence of immigration clampdowns.
It goes like this: British Ministers get jittery about excessive immigration when their constituents and colleagues tell them “It’s out of control”. A new policy is announced.
Back in the real world, would-be immigrants see the door is about to slam. So they bring forward their plans and a last-minute rush heads for the UK or whichever western country offers apparent riches.
It first happened with the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act. The Conservative Government led by Harold Macmillan, worried about large numbers of South Asian immigrants arriving in Britain, announced a cap on numbers. It was very popular with the public.
The problem was that the very announcement caused a surge in new applicants who wanted to get into Britain before the door was closed.
I faced the same problem in 2008 when the last Labour Government wanted to strengthen the points based system – yes, we’ve had such a law since then. The Brexiteers didn’t invent it.
I announced in Parliament that the numbers of non-EU unskilled workers would be restricted. What happened was that more unskilled workers applied for visas than ever.
The same will happen now. Whatever we think of the highly controversial issue of immigration, I’m afraid the solutions are not that simple.