Immigrants ‘must add to quality of life in Britain’

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People coming to live in the UK from outside the EU must “add to the quality of life in Britain”, immigration minister Damian Green is to say.

He will argue Britain does not need more “middle managers” or unskilled Labour and only the “brightest and best” will be welcome to settle.

They will be expected to be able to command a salary of more than £31,000.

Labour said the government had set out “no workable proposals” to reduce net migration significantly as promised.

It has pledged to cut net migration from 242,000 – the figure for the year ending September 2010 – to the “tens of thousands” last seen in the 1990s.

As part of that the number of people from outside the EU coming to the UK to work will be capped.

Skill gaps
Ahead of his speech to the Policy Exchange in London, Mr Green told BBC Radio Kent he was introducing new criteria for all routes of entry – work, study and family.

“I want us to be much more intelligently selective about who we let come here,” he said.
The government is still weakening action on illegal immigration, abandoning checks at our border during the summer”

Chris Bryant
Shadow immigration minister
“We need to know that you’re not going to be living off benefits from day one of arriving here.

“We want people either to fill skill gaps we may have… [or] we want to know that they are being offered jobs that are genuinely at a skill level.

“Similarly with students, we want to make sure that they are genuine student studying genuine courses at a genuine institution.”

On the subject of professions suffering from shortages, such as nursing, Mr Green said there was “no reason why Britain should have a permanent shortage of nurses” and any use of foreign workers should be temporary.

He said importing unskilled labour had “caused enough problems when there was an economic boom on” and would be completely “wrong-headed” in tougher times.

An independent body has recommended that anyone seeking permanent settlement should be able to command a salary of between £31,000 and £49,000.

‘Massive gap’
New specialist routes will be developed further to improve the visa system for short-term business visitors and entertainers, as well as a “young talent” scheme to encourage the entrepreneurs and scientists of the future to immigrate.

Mr Green is expected to say he wants to build a “national consensus” around immigration, adding: “Importing economic dependency on the state is unacceptable.

“Bringing people to this country who can play no role in the life of this country is equally unacceptable.”

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said Labour agreed with the need for national consensus but there was “still a massive gap between the government’s rhetoric and the reality on immigration”.

“David Cameron pledged ‘no ifs, no buts’, net migration would be in the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament. Yet the minister today has again set out no workable proposals to deliver it,” he said.

“And the government is still weakening action on illegal immigration, abandoning checks at our border during the summer, stopping the routine fingerprinting of illegal immigrants trying to enter the UK through the Channel Tunnel, and seeing the number of people removed for breaking the rules going down not up.”

The government has promised to crack down on sham and forced marriages, and last year consulted on plans to create a more formal test to define whether a relationship is genuine.

This could involve UK Border Agency case workers questioning a couple to see whether they are able to provide accurate personal details about each other and whether they agree on the facts of their relationship, for example how they met.

source: BBC © 2012

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