The north-east of England and the Midlands will be hit hardest by a new immigration system that would see the vast majority of low-skilled EU migrants barred from settling in Britain, new analysis reveals.

In a sign that the government’s new “global” immigration system could leave some regional economies facing labour shortages after Brexit, the study finds that more than 90% of EU workers currently working in some English regions would be ineligible under the new rules.

Theresa May has pledged to create a new immigration system after Brexit that does not give preferential treatment to EU citizens. It would effectively mean swaths of low-skilled workers from Europe no longer qualify. Businesses have already voiced major concerns about labour shortages.

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