Changes to Britain’s immigration system after it leaves the European Union may stop Santa Claus from making his annual festive flying visit, it has emerged.
Santa currently uses European freedom of movement rights to fly his sleigh from Lapland into British skies to conduct his annual delivery business.
However, with Britain leaving the EU, the jolly old man is likely to face the same immigration curbs as other Laplanders in future.
Work permits are expected to be introduced, and legal experts warn that the tradition of parents providing a glass of sherry and a mince pie in return for Santa leaving presents by the fireplace constitutes an informal work arrangement – thereby making it impossible for the iconic figure to gain permission to enter the country without the correct paperwork.
Any attempt to make deliveries without permission from the immigration authorities could see Santa arrested, according to legal experts.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said, “This is just another example of a foreigner coming over here taking the job of a decent hardworking indigenous British national who could easily spend the night delivering presents instead.
“I’ll be delighted to see the end of it.”
In a further complication, the government is believed to favour including reindeer in its annual immigration target.
Theresa May is believed to favour a quota of four reindeer per year for the whole country, which friends of Santa say would make the job of pulling his present-laden sleigh close to impossible.
The issue has been raised at cabinet level, with one minister said to have raised concerns that millions of children may be disappointed, only to have been drowned out by shouts of “bah humbug!”
Meanwhile, the Sun is investigating claims that hundreds of Laplanders are cheating immigration controls by masquerading as Santa in shopping centres across the country.
It has published images it claims to be the real Santa supervising elves back in Lapland in the run up to Christmas while the fake Santas pose for photos with unsuspecting children.NT