Monday 3 October 2022 6:27 AM UTC
LONDON Oct 3: Ministers have been accused of sending mixed signals to a business community seeking to employ foreign staff after the home secretary said the UK had too many low-skilled migrant workers and high numbers of international students who often bring dependants.
Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on September 23 that the government was looking to review immigration policy as part of an attempt to boost growth, following complaints from business groups that post-Brexit rules were too restrictive, especially for low-paid jobs. Meanwhile, Home Secretary Braverman said reducing migration was an aim shared by all of Truss’s senior ministers, The Telegraph reported.
She vowed to cut immigration numbers despite moves by new PM Liz Truss to let more high-skilled foreigners into Britain to boost growth. She is expected to flesh out the plans later this week.
The Sun on Sunday revealed last week that the PM is planning to create new routes for foreign workers to move to Britain to kick-start growth.
The controversial move sparked a Cabinet row amid fears it would open the floodgates to cheap foreign labour and uncontrolled numbers.
But Ms Braverman moved to calm jitters that this growth drive will see promises to cut net migration torn up.
The Home Secretary said: “What we’ve got is too many low skilled workers coming into this country. We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents. So students are coming on their student visa, but they’re bringing in family members who can piggyback onto their student visa.
“Those people are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low skilled jobs, and they’re not contributing to growing our economy.”
She added: “We want people with high skills, we want people with tech qualifications…What we don’t want is a very steady stream of cheap foreign labour.”
“What we’ve got is too many low skilled workers coming into this country,” she said. “We’ve also got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents.”
“Those people are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low-skilled jobs, and they’re not contributing to growing our economy,” she added.
According to report in The Guardian, shadow immigration minister, Stephen Kinnock, responded: “It is vital that government provides business with certainty, stability and clarity. But like so much else, this government’s immigration policy is all over the place, with the chancellor and the home secretary sending utterly confused and chaotic signals.”
The SNP’s home affairs spokesperson, Stuart McDonald, questioned Braverman’s priorities. “The idea that trashing the Modern Slavery Act and reducing international students are the biggest priorities for the new home secretary is completely and utterly ludicrous,” he said.
With conflicting signals and with businesses and opposition raising voices the Home Secretary will be forced to clarify matters on immigration very soon. According to one report she is expected to come out with a plan this week to allay fears.
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