UK immigration cap may not happen

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25 June 2010


The UK Coalition Government is reconsidering plans to introduce an immigration cap. During times of economic growth immigration has been of enormous benefit to the UK economy providing much needed skilled labour. Business leaders are worried that an immigration cap now will damage the economy.

Theresa May the Home Secretary will shortly start consultations with businesses on the immigration cap. A Home Office spokesman had the following to say:

"It's not news that we will have a consultation before an annual limit is set. The home secretary will announce details shortly.

"We want to attract the brightest and the best to the UK but the government is listening to the concerns of the general public who would like to see levels of immigration reduced."

The Conservative party policy to introduce limits on immigration proved to be a popular policy during the General Election. Immigration Minister Damian Green has said recently:

"We believe that immigration has been far too high in recent years, which is why the new Government will reduce net migration back down to the levels of the 1990s - to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands.

"Over the coming weeks and months the public will see us tackle this issue by introducing a wide range of new measures to ensure that immigration is properly controlled, including a limit on work permits, actions on marriage and an effective system of regulating the students who come here."

Education secretary, Michael Gove, and the Universities Secretary, David Willetts who both oppose the immigration cap told Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister about their concerns in a recent meeting. There is opposition to the immigration cap both in the Conservative Party and in the Liberal Democrat Party their coalition partner who only agreed to the cap to enable them to join the Government. The immigration cap could cause problems for the City.

It remains to be seen what will happen. It is possible that instead of an immigration cap further changes will be made to the current immigration points based system. There has already been a fall in immigration to the UK. Net migration to the UK for the year to September 2009 was 142,000 a significant reduction compared to net migration of 160,000 in the previous 12 months.

Even if there is no immigration cap it is likely that in future immigration to the UK will become more difficult. If you meet the requirements now it may be worth considering your options under the various immigration visa options available including the Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa.