MAC Chairman To Give Views On Immigration Cap To Commons Home Affairs Select Committee

On the 19th July 2010 the Government introduced a temporary (interim) Immigration Cap intended to bring about an immediate 5% reduction on the previous years Immigration total, with the permanent Immigration Cap being introduced next year. At present the Government is conducting a public consultation over the plans and the Migration Advisory Committee is considering at what level the cap should be set.

On Monday night, Damian Green, the Immigration Minister said that \”We cannot assume that everyone coming here to work has skills that the UK workforce cannot offer. We will not make Britain prosperous in the long term by telling our own workers: \’Don\’t bother to learn new skills, we can bring them all in from overseas.\’\”

Net Immigration up 20% in 2009

Recently the Government announced that net Immigration to the UK actually rose by 20% in 2009 (up from 163,000 in 2008 to 196,000 in 2009) even though the number of Tier 1 General and Tier 2 General visa approvals fell sharply. The highly unexpected results were largely due to a significant decrease in the number of UK nationals leaving the country to move abroad, a factor which is out of the control of the Government.

Sarah Mulley from the Institute for Public Policy Research said: “This demonstrates the difficult task that the government has set itself in seeking to significantly reduce total net immigration – a measure over which it has only limited control. The impact of changes in British migration (over which the government has no control at all) on total net migration demonstrates this very clearly.”

Student Visa Route to be Revised

Recently Mr Green said that \”The limits we\’ve already set among those on work visas are necessary but not sufficient. We need to look at other routes. We can see that 186,000 international students came to the UK in 2004 and by 2009 more than 20% of them were still here. Student numbers have risen fast. In the year to June 2010, 300,000 visas were issued to students and their dependents. If a fifth of those are still here in five years\’ time, they are very high numbers.\”

Mr Green also said that \”half of all International students do not fit with everyone\’s image of the hard-working student in higher education. People think that they are the very brightest and the best, but we have discovered that only half are studying degree-level courses. Half are coming to study sub-degree courses. There are questions to be asked about whether the student route is just for the brightest and the best and whether this is the best use of our training system.\”

Following the announcement Hina Majid, the Policy Director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said that \”Reducing opportunities for international study in the UK at a point in time when the current government is proposing to slash public expenditure on education, and kick-start a recovery fuelled by the private sector could have serious implications for many public and private educational establishments in the United Kingdom.\”

Commonwealth Contractors

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