The BBC reports that if a Conservative Government were elected, as is widely expected, they would launch a drive to get more highly qualified migrants to come to the UK, but keep the points system.
Conservative shadow minister Damian Green said this week at the Tory party conference that they would keep the Government’s points based migration system but place an overall annual limit on numbers.
It would cut low skilled migration but push for more high grade workers.
However, Tier 3, of the five tier points system, for low skilled workers is already closed to non EU migrants, and Tier 1 is designed to attract highly skilled and qualified migrants.
Tier 2, for skilled workers, is designed to allow in only those workers which the country needs, and the Government takes advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
“We want to attract more than our fair share of the brightest and the best,” he told a Tory conference fringe meeting in Manchester.
Mr Green said he wanted to achieve an immigration system as close as possible to the Australian system, which as well as having quotas for some professions also set targets for highly qualified migration.
He said Britain was a global trading nation and it was vital for future prosperity to attract more entrepreneurs and highly qualified graduates to the UK than to rival economies such as Japan or the US.
But he also said it was important to control immigration by imposing an overall cap on numbers in order to ease pressure on public services and ease social tensions.
And he hit back at claims politicians on all sides were resorting to “scare stories” about immigration, insisting some such stories, especially about the impact on primary schools, were true.
But he said the Tories aimed to get immigration under control to “reduce the threat of social tension”, arguing that people will feel “more welcoming” and “relaxed” about immigration if they have evidence it is not threatening their local services.
This was particularly important because despite the recession there had been no reduction in immigration and “actually the numbers are still rising and all the pressures are still there”.
Immigration will be one of the most important issues for voters in the run up to the forthcoming general election.
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