The UK government should offer British voters a "grand bargain" on immigration policy, following the vote to split from the EU, according to a right-leaning think tank.
Ryan Bourne, head of public policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), told IBTimes UK ministers should drop the "tens of thousands" migration target and make the case for free movement of workers from the EU.
"There should be economic mechanisms whereby we can either compensate losers or shift policies in other directions such that they are better able to integrate into a world where there is free movement," he said.
"There are big significant costs and consequences to attempt to control migration however you do it.
"What we should be doing is starting from the point of having as free ability for people to move as possible and then trying to deal with particularly localised problems as they see them."
Bourne said he expected the economic impacts of cutting immigration to be "better considered" once the UK breaks away from Brussels.
"We need a grand bargain with voters, where we set a sensible economically beneficial policies, but acknowledge that the stock of the general population size at the moment necessitates more house building, it necessitates public services that are more responsive to change in demand," he said.
His comments coincide with a new paper released by the IEA today (17 November). The think tank urged the government to consider a Swedish-style visa system, where businesses are granted permits to employ migrants for those with a job offer irrespective of skill level.
The Conservatives' immigration target, first endorsed by David Cameron, has drawn criticism from the left and the right of British politics.
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that net migration to the UK hit 327,000 in the year to March 2016, down 9,000 compared to the year before.
The research body also explained that immigration of EU citizens (268,000) remained lower than that of non-EU citizens (282,000).
The issue was one of the factors behind the UK's decision to split from the EU, with Vote Leave endorsing an Australian-style points system.
Theresa May has since ruled out such a policy, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd has recommitted the government to the "tens of thousands" target, while promising an £140m migration impact fund to help public services under strain.
Immigration is expected to be one of the main corns during the UK government's negotiations with the EU, which will start after Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered.
EU chiefs, including European Council President Donald Tusk, have ruled out giving the UK "single market a la carte" – extensive access to the bloc alongside immigration curbs.
Free movement of people remains one of the fundamental rights of the EU.
"This government is committed to bringing net migration down to sustainable levels. That means tens of thousands each year, rather than hundreds of thousands," a Home Office spokesperson told IBTimes UK.
"As we leave the EU, the British people have sent a clear message that it must be a priority in our negotiations to gain more control of the numbers of people who come here from Europe, and we will implement a system for the UK that delivers this."