Home Office minister Caroline Nokes today gave no clarification on when a paper would be published, saying only that it would be made public "in the coming months, when the time is right."
"There will be plenty of time," she added.
But while she insisted the official position on post-Brexit immigration was clear, and that the government could not be expected to "provide a running commentary" she was attacked by members of the opposition for mis-handling the situation.
Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said it was a "shambles".
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott added: "The time has been right for some time and the government's postponement and delay is inexcusable."
The delay has already been attacked by business groups including the CBI, saying firms would be "hugely frustrated" if they were not given clarity over future recruitment.
Liberal Democrat's home affairs spokesman Ed Davey said the delay showed "the government is up the proverbial creek without a paddle".
“I hope this delay stems from the fact that the government is waking up to the reality that EU migration has been a net positive for the UK. It has provided the nurses, teachers and carers our public services desperately need and workers in industries like construction and agriculture that help our economy thrive," he said.
“It is time that the Conservatives woke up to the reality that their futile attempts to meet their pledge of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands would harm our economy and leave us all poorer.”
This is the second paper that has been shelved by the government in recent weeks. Last month, the government quashed plans to publish a financial services white paper, prompting fury and dismay from the industry as well as MPs including the Conservative chair of the Treasury Select Committee Nicky Morgan.