A government probe into in to the role that the EU’s self-employed, contractor and temporary workers have on the UK labour market has been backed by a trade organisation.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) described the move as the “clearest indication yet” that Westminster understands the need to base future immigration rules on hard facts.

The organisation, which represents the UK’s recruitment businesses, said a priority must be to “safeguard access to the people we need”.

The REC’s own research found that the UK relies on staff from EU member states. It estimates that 2.2 million Europeans currently work in the country, with many staffing vital manufacturing, construction and agricultural jobs.

The REC’s chief executive, Kevin Green, has urged the government to established a five-year roadmap for the implementation of new immigration policies to avoid a “cliff-edge” situation once Brexit takes place.

Writing in response to Amber Rudd, who took to the Financial Times to outline the government’s approach to post-Brexit immigration, the REC’s chief executive Kevin Green said the system needed to be “fit for purpose” and evidence based.

Rudd has previously described a three-phase system with a temporary implementation period to road test any new policies and “ensure there is no cliff-edge” for employers or employees.

Rudd also wrote that the Migration Advisory Committee is to explore how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with the government’s modern industrial strategy.

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