On a day when Parliament is expected to tell judges to stop allowing foreign criminals to stay in the UK on human rights grounds, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has attacked business leaders who complain about the Coalition’s immigration cap, accusing them of “sending a negative message” about Britain.
Mrs May insisted that big companies still have the freedom to bring skilled foreign workers to the UK when they need to, and criticised firms who complain.
The Coalition has introduced annual limits on the number of workers from different skill groups who can come to the UK.
Conservative ministers say the policy will reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands”, though the most recent figures put total arrivals at around 250,000 a year.
Some business leaders have said the restrictions on migrants are harming the UK economy because some highly-skilled foreigners are unable to remain the country.
The City of London Corporation, which speaks for City banks, earlier this month said the rules are “giving the impression that we aren’t open for business”.
Sir Richard Lambert, the former head of the CBI, last year said that the immigration cap had made it harder for UK firms to hire the skilled staff they need.
Speaking to journalists at Westminster, Mrs May said that business groups and companies should change their tune.
“They are sending a negative message,” she said. “They should be doing their bit to show we’re open for business as well.”
Mrs May’s comments come weeks after William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told British firms to “work harder” at promoting their goods and services around the world.
The Home Secretary insisted that the current rules give companies scope to hire, and pointed out that the number of “tier 2” visas for skilled workers issued so far has been under the Government’s limit.
The numbers would be lower when the Rules have been changed cutting out many of the popular categories such as Senior Carers, Chefs and general nurses.
“That suggests to me there’s headroom for business to get people into the UK,” she said.
The Coalition’s immigration policy has been criticised by some Lib Dem ministers, and privately some senior Conservatives worry about its effect on the economy.
But Mrs May insisted that the cap can be implemented without economic harm.
“We can bring business to Britain. We can show Britain is open to business and deal with net migration.”
Parliament is expected to send a clear message to judges that offenders can no longer hide behind their human right to a family life in order to stay here.
Criminals jailed for between one and four years should also “normally” be deported unless they meet a strict new set of rules on what constitutes a strong family tie.
The rule changes are aimed at rebalancing Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in favour of public interest and safety over the rights of criminals.
MPs are expected to vote in favour of the move following a debate in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, hopes their support will show the courts that it is the will of Parliament to end the exploitation of human rights laws. Source: The Telegraph.
This week the government confirmed that new regulations to restrict appeals against refusals of family visit visas have been officially ‘laid in Parliament’ or passed into law.
Immigration Appeals (Family Visitor) Regulations set out who qualifies for a full right of appeal against refusal of a visa to visit family in the UK.
The new family migration rules will come into effect from 9 July 2012.
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