Immigration Policies Under A Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government

The Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement

Following the formation of the new Coalition Government the two parties released a Coalition Agreement statement which set out plans for the future.

On Immigration the two parties said that “We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non European Union economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit. We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.”

Key Appointments

The new Cabinet will include the following key appointments:

  • Prime Minister: David Cameron (leader of the Conservatives)
  • Deputy Prime Minister: Nick Clegg (leader of the Liberal Democrats)
  • George Osborne: Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • William Hague: Foreign Secretary
  • Home Secretary: Theresa May

Immigration Policies

Annual Immigration Cap

During the General Election Campaign the Conservatives said they would aim to get Immigration to the UK in the ‘tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands’. They planned to do this by introducing an ‘annual limit on the number of non European Union economic migrants allowed to work’ in the United Kingdom each year. In the recent Coalition Agreement announcement the parties said that they had ‘agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work’ however they went on to say that they will ‘consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit.’

The proposed limit would ‘change each year in order to take into account the wider effects of immigration on society’; however it is not known how this would be achieved. It is thought that Tier 1 General (formerly the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) will be significantly affected however the effects on Tier 2 General (formerly the UK Work Permit system) are not so well known. Many organisations across the United Kingdom rely on Tier 2 (work permit) migrants due to the fact that they are unable to find suitable resident workers from within the UK EEA labour market.

A UK Border Police Force

Both parties said they would look to introduce a new dedicated Border Police Force to crack down on illegal immigration and people trafficking.

New Rules for Tier 4 Students

Tier 4 of the Points Based System (Student) may see immigration rules tightened significantly to tackle the perceived abuse of the system by foreign students studying at bogus colleges. In the final months of the Labour administration the Government tightened the rules relating to foreign students and introduced greater requirements for UK Academic Institutions (such as the Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme). It is unknown whether foreign students will be affected by the proposed Immigration cap, however the Post Study Work subcategory of Tier 1 (which allows a period employment following graduation) may be affected.

English Language Tests

The Conservative Party Manifesto said that the organisation would ‘promote integration into British society’ by introducing an ‘English language test’ for anyone coming to the United Kingdom from outside the European Union to get married

The Reintroduction of Exit Checks

Both parties said that they would aim to reintroduce Exit Checks. The move would see the Government count people entering the United Kingdom AND people who leave. With so much attention placed on the size of the UK population (which the ONS said would hit 70 million people by 2029) the party’s argue that exit checks are required in order to gain an accurate overview of the immigration system as a whole and the effect on population size.

Illegal Immigrant Amnesty

An illegal Immigrant Amnesty will not be allowed by a Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition.

During the Liberal Democrats General Election campaign the party said that they would ‘give amnesty to illegal immigrants who have been living in the UK for at least 10 years’. Their manifesto said that “We will allow people who have been in Britain without the correct papers for 10 years, but speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term to earn their citizenship. This route to citizenship will not apply to people arriving after 2010.\” The highly controversial move will not be taken.

Identity Cards

The Coalition Agreement says that the party’s will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database. Millions upon millions of pounds have be spent on the systems by the Labour Government however the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition believe the schemes step on peoples civil liberties, not to mention the fact that the cuts will help to save a significant amount of money in the current tax year (which will help to cut the budget deficit). It is not known at present whether the scrapping of the scheme will affect foreign nationals. At present foreign nationals applying for a visa in the UK are issued a Identity Card for Foreign Nationals (ICFN).

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing Tier 1 Visa Applications / Extensions and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a Medical, Information Technology or Engineering Professional on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.


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