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#Crackdown: Cameron’s plan to limit immigration from outside the EU

Prime Minister David Cameron has unveiled plans to significantly reduce the number of immigrants to the UK from outside the European Union as he struggles to meet his ambitious plan to cut net migration.

Mr Cameron has failed to deliver on a promise made in 2010 to cut net migration – the number of people coming to the UK minus those leaving – to the tens of thousands.

Net migration to Britain 318,000 in 2014, the highest since 2005.

His new plan will put him on a confrontation with businesses who rely on highly skilled workers from across the world.

“In the past it has been frankly too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas… We need to do more to change that,” Cameron told parliament on Wednesday. 

“The home secretary has written to the Migration Advisory Committee asking them to report back on how to significantly reduce work-related migration from outside Europe.”

Mr Cameron said proposals included restricting work visas to only highly specialist workers and areas with a “genuine” skill shortage and limiting the length of time a sector can claim to have a skills shortage.

The government is also looking at introducing a levy on businesses who recruit foreign workers, which would be used to boost training of British workers, as well as raising the salary thresholds for skilled worker visas to prevent businesses using foreign workers to undercut wages.

Currently, someone applying for a tier-two visa, covering skilled workers, must normally have been offered a job earning at least £20,800 and to have at least £945 in savings.

A number of business campaign groups have criticized the measures.

Katja Hall, deputy director general of the Confederation of British Industry, told the BBC that limiting highly skilled workers from coming to the UK was not the answer to concerns over immigration.

“They bring their skills and ideas to this country, pay their taxes here and boost growth. We need to keep up-skilling our population, but at the same time as attracting the best and brightest global talent”, Hall said.

Hall’s comments were echoed by Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

“The contribution made by the highly qualified and trained professionals from India to the UK industry and economy, just like elsewhere, is widely acknowledged”, Dr Singh said.

“We hope that any new set of measures that the UK government may introduce does not impinge on this valuable source of economic contribution”, he added.



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