A potential Conservative Party candidate has called European Union migrants be issued with visas based on the same points-based system currently in place for migrants from outside the EU.
Anna Firth, a Tory councillor who is hoping to stand in the upcoming by election in Rochester, Kent, said a universal points-based system – similar to the one proposed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) – would help put a stop to what she called “uncontrolled” migration from the European Union.
Ms Firth added that the current system allowed “Romanian Fruit Pickers” to enter Britain whilst making it ever-more difficult for talented people from the rest of the world to obtain visas.
Addressing a meeting with local voters, Ms Firth said: “Once we have that system in place then I think we will have a sensible immigration policy.
“One that says if you come to this country with skills we really need – say you’re a brain surgeon or something in Australia as opposed to someone who has no skills, a fruit picker in Romania – then we say yes.
“If you come into this country with a job, we say yes. If you come into this country because you’ve got the money to support you and contribute to this country, we say yes.
“But otherwise need to say we can’t support you. That would be my policy.”
Ms Firth’s comments were echoed by fellow Tory candidate Kelly Tolhurst who also spoke at the meeting.
Intriguingly, the Rochester by-election was triggered by the defection last week of the town’s MP, former Tory Mark Reckless to UKIP with Reckless saying he had become disillusioned with the Conservatives’ immigration policies.
The comments by Ms Firth and Ms Tolhurst – at a meeting which was made out of bounds for the press by the Conservative Party – is the latest in a series of immigration-related embarrassments for Prime Minister David Cameron.
His government’s highly-publicized plan to reduce net migration has failed.
Part of the policy involved a crackdown on student visa applicants from South Asia and elsewhere in a move that caused widespread anger in the region but resulted in a significant decline in the number of international students from India and Pakistan.
That decline however, has been off-set by a flood of immigrants arriving from Eastern Europe, especially after restrictions on movements for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants were lifted earlier this year.