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UK ‘shooting itself in the foot’ on immigration policy | Immigration Matters

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The UK government is “shooting itself in the foot” and should change its immigration policy to boost economic growth, says Lord O’Donnell, the former head of the British civil service.

Although retired, Lord O’Donnell is still an influential figure. He said the annual limit on skilled workers from outside the EU, which the current coalition introduced in 2011, was a “big barrier to growth” that deprives the UK of talented people.

In an article for The Times on Thursday, he wrote:

“The first thing the government can do to help growth is to stop shooting itself in the foot.” .

The UK government’s wants to slash net migration from the current level of 240,000 to a figure in the ‘tens of thousands’ by 2015.

But this looks increasingly unlikely with EU immigration still growing and UK work restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians set to end in 2014.

Croatia will join the EU on 1 July 2013 and the government has already introducing ‘transitional arrangement’ legislation, ‘European Union (Croatian Accession) Bill’, in Parliament to restrict free movement of labour or the right to freely work in the UK.

The cap has faced strong opposition from universities, which believe that non-EU students should be excluded from the net migration targets, businesses and Business Secretary Vince Cable who has said it is damaging the UK economy.

Britain is a trading nation and London an international city where companies from all over the world have chosen as their base. 

If these companies cannot recruit the brightest and best to work in their UK offices, they will simply relocate to a more immigration friendly environment.

Lord Gus O’Donnell was appointed as Cabinet Secretary under the Blair government, which expanded immigration and the UK’s international student market.

During the Blair years, the UK enjoyed growth and prosperity until the world banking crisis in 2008.

See also:

Croatia to join European Union in 2013 but Tory MP says EU immigration policies are ‘barking mad’

Migration Watch calls for 5 year extension to UK work restriction for 30m Bulgarians and Romanians

Romanian Gypsy campaigner who ran £10m benefits fraud ring allowed on appeal to stay in Britain on human rights grounds

Jobless Europeans being paid £1000 by European Commission to work in UK

UKBA arrest 11 immigration offenders including a Bulgarian

Free Movement of EU nationals explained

UK Government wants curbs on EU migration

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

European Commission warning to UK on Free Movement rights and Comprehensive Sickness Insurance remains unanswered

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

Yellow or Blue Card Refused – Appeal or Reapply?

How Romanians and Bulgarians working illegally without Yellow Card or papers can legalise their status in the UK

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians. UK jobs are available in the care industry.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email:

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