IF the Tory government carries through the plans in its Immigration White Paper, employers across the UK will have to pay out more than £1 billion due to red tape, according to a new report being published today.

The study by the Global Future think tank says the proposals contained in the White Paper will impose an £80 million barrier to EU students, and that the planned settled status scheme post-Brexit “exactly mirrors the makings of last year’s Windrush scandal – but on a much larger scale”.

The think tank’s analysis also suggests the proposed £30,000 salary threshold for skilled workers would “leave over 100,000 unfilled jobs in social care and nursing, and cause the total EU workforce to shrink by 2025 – making it very difficult for businesses to survive and expand”.

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Fergus Peace, the report’s author, said: “The White Paper includes some sensible measures, but overall it represents an unambiguous shift towards a more complex and burdensome immigration system that will damage our country’s prospects.

“First, the new visa system – with its £30,000 threshold – will put off workers the Government wants to attract and keep out many we desperately need, not least the low-paid workers who keep our social care sector on its feet.

“Requiring the Europeans who are allowed in to secure sponsored visas will create a £1bn bureaucratic headache for employers, including the NHS – siphoning hundreds of millions of pounds in visa fees out of cash-strapped hospitals and into the Home Office. Second, these proposals chip away at one of the UK’s leading industries – the higher education sector – erecting an £80m barrier in new fees for the European students it needs to attract.

It continues: “And third, the plan shows no serious thought about integration and social cohesion. Forcing lower-wage migrants to leave the country after a year would dramatically increase churn in local communities and discourage any efforts to integrate – worsening exactly the issues we are told this plan seeks to address.

He also said the settled status scheme would create “a recipe for thousands of EU migrants to fall into the hostile environment”.

Peace added: “The Government presents ending free movement as the great prize at the centre of its Brexit strategy.

“But ultimately this White Paper is a plan to close ourselves off from the world. That’s not something to celebrate – it’s a dreadful mistake.”

READ MORE: EU nationals’ scheme ‘will be worse than Windrush’

Global Future said the new system for European workers will see them have to navigate the “intense bureaucracy of the Home Office’s visa system” for the first time – at a cost to employers they project at £1.14bn over five years.

Hundreds of millions of pounds would churn from key public services back to the Home Office. And if the NHS is allowed to recruit the migrant workers it says it needs, the health service alone could face £580m in costs

The report claims the system is “already creaking”, and will struggle to manage the applications from the more than three million EU nationals currently living in the UK.

It adds: “Even if it works, the new system will leave EU citizens with one of six different kinds of status, creating serious risks of confusion and error in the Government’s hostile environment.”

Citing “undeniable parallels” with the Windrush fiasco, the think tank said migrants who arrived under effective free movement without documents will have their status changed overnight by a law change. This, the report said, will lead to people falling through the cracks.

Scotland’s External Affairs minister, Fiona Hyslop, said in Holyrood last month: “The proposals in the UK white paper would economically damage the whole UK and especially Scotland.”