UK Conservative Party to be tougher on immigration

by Ray Clancy on May 22, 2017

People from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa are most likely to be affected by the tough immigration stance that British Prime Minister Theresa May has outlined.

While the Conservative Party has been promising for almost a decade to reduce immigration in the UK, it is leaving the European Union that has given impetus to the policy.

(MA8/Bigstock)

May has pledged that if she wins the general election on 08 June her Government will not only reduce the number of people arriving annually from the EU but also toughen policies for those from other countries as well.

And the policies she outlined in her election manifesto will also affect expats from outside the EU who currently live and work in the UK as the cost of foreigners accessing the National Health Service (NHS) will rise to £600 although there is no timescale as yet.

Australians are likely to be hit the hardest by the policy as figures show that more are coming to the UK than at any other time in the past 20 years. In the first three months of 2017 some 157,000 were granted visas.

The number of people coming from New Zealand is also increasing, up 30,000 year on year, the figures also show.

The changes outlined will also make it more expensive for companies employing people from abroad with the current cost set to double to £2,000 per person.

May said that the policy is aimed at encouraging employers to look to people already in the UK and the money raised will go towards training for young people to give them the kind of skills that employers say they need.

But businesses are concerned about the extra cost. ‘In a global race for talent and innovation, UK firms risk being left in the starting blocks because of a blunt approach to immigration,’ said Carolyn Fairbairn, director of The Confederation of British Industry.

‘The next Government can both control migration and support prosperity, it does not need to be an either-or choice. Charges for visas for non-EU skilled workers have risen hugely in the past decade, and further increases will harm inward investment,’ she added.

According to Rachel Marangozov, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, limiting immigration will affect the NHS and other key sectors of the economy which are dependent on skilled workers from overseas.

She said that around 8% of those working in the IT, software and computer services are non-EU migrants and around 7% of all those working in banking and financial services are EU migrants.

She explained that training British workers to take up these roles in the future will not happen overnight. ‘It takes time. And in the meantime, vital sectors of our economy, such as higher education and IT, will pay a higher levy to recruit skilled workers from abroad,’ she pointed out.

‘The cost to a small business or even a large university of having to pay £2,000 for every skilled worker it needs, whether they are Indian IT workers or US professors, will only be seen as punitive. Employers already have to pass the Resident Labour market test before recruiting skilled migrants from abroad, demonstrating that no UK workers could be found for the vacancy,’ she added.

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