30 July, 2017
Mr Barnier reportedly told the ambassadors it was "very unlikely" that "sufficient progress" would be made on the exit talks by October and that the council's judgment on beginning trade talks - Mrs May's priority - could be delayed by two months.
The CBI warned that businesses "urgently" needed to know the direction of future British immigration policies, both for any "transitional" period after March 2019 and beyond.
He added: "There are things we could do to reduce some aspects of immigration whilst keeping a posture that is open and attractive to talent".
The upbeat government assessment followed a report in the Daily Telegraph which said the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, had told a private meeting of ambassadors that the next phase of negotiations would be delayed by two months because of the wrangle over how much the United Kingdom owes the bloc.
Commenting on today's developments, Recruitment & Employment Confederation CEO Kevin Green has urged government to deliver policies that will safeguard access to the people United Kingdom plc needs.
"He was very clear these were two different phases", someone at the meeting told the newspaper.
This comes as Chancellor Philip Hammond declared he wants to see a transitional deal with the EU which would see the United Kingdom stripped of influence in Brussels - but forced to accept free movement rules, continued budget contributions and meddling from the European Courts.
Britain hopes to negotiate a "transitional period" of up to three years after leaving the European Union in March 2019, during which current terms of trade would be maintained, said Treasury chief, Philip Hammond.
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said May's offer "is a first good step which we appreciate" but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that many questions remained.
"Stalling on this is unfair on the British people who voted to take back control of their borders, businesses who want certainty and European Union citizens who deserve to know how a post-Brexit British immigration system will work".
That consultation will result in another report to come out in September next year.
Ms Rudd was speaking after a day of confusion over the British government's plans for immigration, during which ministers appeared to contradict one another.
Lewis (pictured left) was speaking as his boss, home secretary Amber Rudd, announced that the Government has commissioned an independent study into the role that European Union nationals play in the United Kingdom economy.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Thursday that the government needs "the most accurate picture possible of the extent to which the United Kingdom economy uses European Union labor".
"We are also calling for a review of the occupational shortage list to enable takeaways, particularly curry and kebab houses, to access skilled chefs from outside the European Union".